Writer: Lucas Garza
Golf’s second major of the year will be at Shinnecock Hills on Long Island, NY. This is the first time Shinnecock has hosted our national championship since 2004. After winning last week in Memphis by five shots, Dustin Johnson seems to be the favorite heading into the tournament, as many people think he can dominate the golf course as he did at Oakmont in 2016.
Shinnecock is a course that demands good iron play, as the greens are severely fast, undulated, and surrounded by heavy rough. Jordan Spieth is a player to look out for this week, as he was by far the best iron player on tour last season, and always is well prepared for major championships (and has a good track record in the Northeast).
Patrick Reed will try to win the second leg of the grand slam, a feat that no modern golfer has ever done. Reed has been playing some of the best golf that a recent Masters’ champion has played, trying to not get caught up celebrating in the honeymoon period.
World No. 1, Justin Thomas, will try to hang on to his top spot on the OWGR, as Dustin Johnson could reclaim that title with a good finish this week. Thomas is also atop the FedEx Cup standings, and Dustin Johnson is lurking right behind him in second in that leaderboard, as well.
Justin Rose is another player who could win this week with his terrific iron play. Rose won three tournaments early in the season, and one the Fort Worth Invitational at colonial two weeks ago, while he put on a clinic with his approach shots.
Reigning US Open champion Brooks Koepka has been playing great since winning last year at Erin Hills, but has only played a limited amount of events due to a wrist injury early this year that kept him out for 15 weeks.
Retief Goosen won the last Open at Shinnecock in 2004, but will not be in the field this week because US Open champions are only exempt for the next 10 years. This is Tiger Woods last Open exempt, last winning in 2018, but if Tiger keeps performing like he has recently, he will have no problem being in the field at Pebble Beach next year. This will be Tiger’s first US Open since 2015 at Chambers Bay. The best part of Tiger’s game since his return has been his iron play, so maybe he could win his 15th major this week.
Phil Mickelson is the US Open’s lovable loser, having a record six runner-up finishes, and no wins. Phil was the runner up in 2004, and many thought early in the year that he could win this US Open when he was rattling off top 10 finishes, capping that run off with a win in Mexico. He has slowed down just a tad since, but has posted two top 15’s in his last four starts heading into the 2018 US Open.