The first major championship of the 2020 kicks off September 17-20 with the U.S. Open. The tournament is usually the third major of the year, but following the scheduling nightmare caused by the coronavirus it comes first in the elongated 2020-2021 PGA Tour. The world's best will head to Winged Foot Golf Club in rural Mamaroneck, New York as the club hosts the tournament for a 6th time. Winged Foot is known for slick greens and notorious rough, both of which have been revamped to be even more difficult by the USGA. How difficult is the course? Only once in the previous 5 U.S. Opens hosted by Winged Foot has the winner scored under par. Expect a tight affair.
2019 Champion Gary Woodland
Topeka’s Gary Woodland was a somewhat unlikely challenger to end Brooks Koepka’s U.S. Open winning streak. Woodland had never finished in the top-20 at the U.S. Open, and had only 2 wins in his previous 5 seasons on Tour. However, despite his relative lack of wins, Woodland was always a good bet to be near the head of the field and has a well-earned reputation for consistency. In the end, he held his nerve over 4 rounds and his -13 was good enough to win by 3 strokes with Koepka finishing as runner-up. Since the win, Woodland has remained within the top-30 of the world rankings and looks to retain his title this week.
The U.S. Open chose for the first time to not employ regional qualifying for the tournament, citing health concerns over staging numerous events. However, the USGA has put in an expansive list to make the now invitational event representative of a usual field, including a small number of amateurs as is normal for the tournament. Fans will be sad to learn that Brooks Koepka has withdrawn from the event due to injury, meaning for the first time in 3 years Koepka is guaranteed not to win or finish runner up in the event. Spanish golfer Jon Rahm enters playing the best golf of his career and still searching for his first major. FedEx Cup champion Dustin Johnson starts his season at the U.S. Open, as does Tiger Woods. Phil Mickelson, who can now add a win on the PGA Champions Tour to his large trophy cabinet, is looking for the U.S. Open to finally complete his Career Grand Slam after an agonizing 6 runners up finish.
Coverage will bounce between Golf Channel, NBC, and NBC’s new streaming platform Peacock. Thursday coverage begins on Golf Channel 7:30am-2pm (all ET) before switching to NBC from 2-5pm. Final Thursday coverage is on Peacock 5-7pm. Friday begins on Peacock 7:30-9:30 before going onto Golf Channel 9:30am-4pm with 4 -7pm on NBC. Saturday coverage is on Peacock from 9-11am then ends on NBC from 11am-7:30pm. The final round on Sunday is on Peacock from 8-10am before migrating to the Golf Channel from 10 am-12 pm and then ending on NBC from 12-6pm.