Canadians know how special golf in autumn is, and we’re about to get a nice dose of it on our TVs next week.
The U.S. Open goes from Sept. 17-20 from Winged Foot Golf Club in New York, the first of six major championships on the 2020-21 PGA Tour schedule.
While so many golfers in this country also begin to wrap up their own 2020 seasons, New York in the fall will be followed by the Masters in November before we get back to regularly scheduled programming next year – at least in terms of golf’s majors.
With the U.S. Open kicking things off, here is a quick breakdown of everything you’ll need to know from Winged Foot.
Winged Foot last played host to the U.S. Open in 2006 where Geoff Ogilvy won with a 5-over (yes, over) total. Designed by A.W. Tillinghast in the 1920’s, it was re-worked by Gil Hanse in 2015. It’s also hosted four other U.S. Open’s, with just one featuring a golfer under-par come Sunday night. Davis Love III also won the PGA Championship at Winged Foot in 1997 while Ryan Moore won the U.S. Amateur at the storied club in 2004.
The club, located about 40 minutes from Manhattan, features 36 holes and will once again be played as a par 70 for the best players in the world – although for its members it pegs as a par 72.
In 2006 Ogilvy’s victory was better known as Phil Mickelson’s loss. Mickelson was hoping to win his third-straight major (after capturing the PGA Championship in 2005 and the Masters earlier that year) but he made double bogey on the 72nd hole and finished one shot behind.
Colin Montgomerie also made double on his final hole of the championship to move from 4-over to 6-over and finish one shot behind Ogilvy.
According to the Rockland/Westchester Journal News – the local newspaper of the area – the United States Golf Association’s Jeff Hall, the organization’s managing director of rules and Open championships – says the USGA is going to “let Winged Foot be Winged Foot.”
Winged Foot’s superintendent is hoping, according to The Journal, the winning score will be 8-over.
Good luck, guys.
After the kind of golf we saw from Dustin Johnson these last few weeks during the FedExCup Playoffs, you simply cannot start the discussion around U.S. Open favourites without mentioning the now 23-time PGA Tour winner.
Dustin Johnson, PGA Tour Player
Johnson won The Northern Trust before losing in a playoff at the BMW Championship. He topped the field at The Tour Championship as well to win the FedExCup and the $15-million bonus. He’s now the betting favourite at Winged Foot and is looking to add another U.S. Open to his major championship haul (which, somehow, stands at just one).
Others to look at include: Rory McIlroy (who will be playing his first major championship after becoming a father on Aug. 31), Brooks Koepka (who had a poor season overall but always steps up his game during the major championships), and Justin Thomas (who made a late run to win his second FedExCup in three years last week in Atlanta).
Tiger Woods will be making his U.S. Open return as well after missing out on the Tour Championship. It’s hard to believe he’s still the defending champion at the Masters, but he’ll head to Winged Foot looking for major No. 16, and his first U.S. Open title since 2008.
Young stud Collin Morikawa will look to win his second major in a row after capturing the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in August.
Collin Morikawa, PGA Tour Player
There will be a hearty Canadian contingent at the U.S. Open this year: Mackenzie Hughes, Corey Conners, Adam Hadwin, and Taylor Pendrith.
Mackenzie Hughes, Canadian PGA Tour Player
Hughes comes into the U.S. Open after having a magical run in the second half of the PGA Tour’s COVID-19-impacted season. He missed nine of his first 11 cuts on Tour earlier in the year but came out of the COVID-19 break blazing. He made it to the Tour Championship and ended the season at 57th in the world – Canada’s highest-ranked male golfer.
Conners and Hadwin have won more recently than Hughes (2019 and 2017, respectively) and have had solid, if unspectacular, second halves to their 2019-20 PGA Tour seasons. However, they both have games built for major championships.
The guy many may not know much about (yet) is Richmond Hill, Ont.’s Taylor Pendrith. Pendrith was Canada’s hottest golfer for the month of July, going T3-2-T2-2 on the Korn Ferry Tour. By finishing fourth on that Tour’s Regular Season Points List he earned an exemption to Winged Foot – and will make his major championship debut at the U.S. Open.