The 2022 U.S. Open - What to Look Out ForPublished on 03/14/2023 · 6 min readReady to watch the 2022 U.S. Open from June 16-19? Golf Expert Luke H. explains which players to watch and the difficulties of the remodeled course below.
Photo by Cem0030 courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
The 122nd U.S. Open Golf Championship is being held next week at one of the most historic venues in America. This year, The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts will host the U.S. Open for the 4th time. The Country Club is famous for a few different memorable events. In 1999, the U.S. men's Ryder Cup team made a historic comeback on Sunday to beat the Europeans in the team competition. That day will forever be remembered for some of the worst golf fashion ever and a bunch of amazing putts and U.S. fist pumps!
The other unforgettable moment at The Country Club was during the venue’s first U.S. Open championship in 1913. Local amateur and course caddie Francis Ouimet won the Championship and defeated some of the best professionals in the world including Ted Ray and Harry Vardon. This victory was so unlikely and remarkable that a movie called The Greatest Game Ever Player was made about Francis’ triumph and starred Shia Labeouf!
The First Major Championship in a New Era of Golf
While this is the 122nd contest of this major championship, this is really the first major in a new era of professional golf. While the PGA Tour has been the crown jewel of competitive golf for over a century, a new competitor has risen and taken the golf world by storm.
The LIV Golf Series, a new limited invitation professional tour run by the Saudi Arabia government and Greg Norman has blown up all the sports headlines the past two weeks by pulling players away from the PGA Tour. The LIV Golf Series has been paying astronomical sums of money to players like Phil Mickelson ($200 million), Dustin Johnson ($120 million), and Bryson DeChambeau (amount undisclosed) to leave the PGA Tour and join their tour.
The kicker about pulling these players away is that the PGA Tour has forced them to resign their membership to the PGA Tour if they want to play in the LIV Golf Series because the PGA owns the athletes’ likenesses and personal brands, and the players didn’t appropriately request a withdrawal of their ownership rights. Thus far, 48 players have left the PGA Tour and joined the LIV Golf Series.
But the USGA—the organization that runs the U.S. Open Championship—was the first organization to come out and support the athletes and say that regardless of which tour the competitors belong to, the world’s best players would be welcomed to compete! This week will be fascinating to see how these three organizations work together (or apart) to contest the United States' oldest golf championship!
Speaking of the best players in the world, here are what the oddsmakers have to say about the favorites for this week’s tournament.
Jon Rahm: +1200
Jon Rahm will be defending his 2021 U.S. Open title and looking to be the first back-to-back champion at any major since Brooks Koepka. Rahm has a relatively calm 2022 season so far, with one victory at the Mexico Open at Vidanta and a solo second finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.
Justin Thomas: +1200
JT is fresh off winning his second major championship when he bounced back from being eight shots back at the PGA Championship. His game has been great the past two months. Next to Scottie Scheffler, Justin Thomas may be the hottest golfer on the planet. Aside from his win at Southern Hills in May, he also has 5 other top-ten finishes this year.
Scottie Scheffler: +1200
Scheffler is the World No. 1 golfer for a reason. He has four wins this season already, including a triumph at the Masters in April, and he just lost in a playoff last week at the Charles Schwab Challenge to finish in solo second—just about to clutch the victory for his fifth win of the season. He missed the cut at the season's second major, the PGA Championship, but I am confident we will see him bounce back this week and compete for a title come Sunday!
Rory McIlroy: +1400
Rory won The CJ Cup at Summit back in October and had a great start to the 2022 season with a solo second at the Masters and two more top-ten finishes at the Wells Fargo Championship and the PGA Championship. He is currently looking for his first win of the season, but Rory has been swinging well and has been in contention at all of the majors so far this season.
Collin Morikawa: +1600
Collin has had a relatively slow start to the 2022 season—for Collins standards. He had a solid showing at the Masters with a solo fifth-place finish, but he’s only had three other top-ten finishes, and those were early in the season in January. The U.S. Open favors precise iron players and Morikawa is arguably the best iron player in the world. This course should be a great setup for him and play to his strengths for sure!
My pick? I am going to go with a dark horse that really isn’t a dark horse. I think Brooks Koepka—Mr. Major Championship—will thrust his name back into the world spotlight and win his fifth major and third U.S. Open title. He hasn’t had the strongest start to the 2022 season aside from his T3 at The Waste Management Phoenix Open, but everything about this week seems to line up well for him. Besides, he just got married and partied with Ludacris at his wedding, so this just makes sense!
The Course Preview
Gil Hanse just completed an extensive remodel of The Country Club at Brookline. The last time the U.S. Open was held here was in 1988 and played to a length of 7010. The redesign has only added 254 yards and will be contested at 7264 yards. This isn’t a tremendous lengthening of the course, considering when you compare the average driving distance of a PGA Tour player in 1988 was 263 yards and today's touring pros average 297 yards of carry (a 13.5% increase).
However, Brookline’s 2022 version of the course does drop a shot—instead of playing as a par 71 as it did in 1988, it will be played as a par 70 this time around. That takes the average yardage per stroke from 98 up to 103, a 5% increase in difficulty by length.
Brookline takes it even further with its small putting surfaces, averaging only 4388 square feet, compared to 6600 square feet of the average PGA Tour venue, about 34% smaller than pros are used to playing (as I mentioned earlier, pinpoint accuracy with your irons will be important!).
Here is an in-depth flyover tour of the entire 18-hole course from start to finish.
How to Watch and Highlights
The U.S. Open will be broadcasting more than 150 hours of live coverage over the four days of the Championship. The best way to check out the coverage for streaming and TV Broadcast is to follow the link here.
Make sure to check back in with Curated after the conclusion of the tournament to see the results and where your favorite golfers ended up. We will also take an in-depth look at what’s in the winner's bag! Of course, if you have any questions about any of the gear the golfers at The Country Club are using this week, feel free to reach out to me or any of our other awesome Golf Experts!