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  • Golfers to Watch at the 2024 US Open

    Golfers to Watch at the 2024 US Open

    An iconic venue is set to play host to the best in the world as the third major of the season on the PGA Tour schedule returns to Pinehurst No. 2.

    Pinehurst, which last hosted the U.S. Open 10 years ago, underwent a significant renovation in 2010 by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw who removed all the rough in order to reshape the fairways and bunkers to restore the course to its original Donald Ross design.

    There will be seven Canadians in the field at the U.S. Open, led by the top-ranked Nick Taylor. Taylor, Corey Conners, Adam Hadwin, Taylor Pendrith, and Mackenzie Hughes all earned their way into the U.S. Open via their play over the last 12 months, while Adam Svensson and amateur Ashton McCulloch earned a spot from Final Qualifying.

    McCulloch is the reigning Canadian Men’s Amateur champion and is a sophomore at Michigan State University. He is the first Canadian amateur in the field of the U.S. Open since Nick Taylor in 2009.

    The seven Canadians teeing it up at the U.S. Open ties the 2023 number for one of the largest Canadian contingents of all time.

    The U.S. Open also marks the final cut-off date for the men’s Olympic golf competition using the Official World Golf Ranking.

    Taylor has seemingly locked up a spot while Conners’ spot is looking more-and-more likely. Hadwin, Pendrith and Hughes are firmly in the mix, however.

    It’s a big summer of Canadian golf, with the Presidents Cup also on the guys’ minds.

    “I think for us the only topic of discussion is how cool it would be to see how many (Canadians) we can get on (the Presidents Cup team), with it being in Canada and Mike (Weir) as a captain,” said Hadwin. “We talk about the potential for having four to six guys on the team – not so much ‘how are you feeling about your chances’ and that sort of thing. As much as we’re a brotherhood and we all want to see each other do well, I think we all want to beat each other as well.”

    Hughes was the top Canadian at last year’s US Open with Hadwin and Svensson also making the cut. Wyndham Clark won his maiden major championship title by one over Rory McIlroy.

    Clark has won already this season on the PGA Tour but has struggled at the major championships – missing the cut at both the Masters and the PGA Championship.

    McIlroy, meanwhile, has won twice so far this season and finished tied for fourth at the RBC Canadian Open.

    While Xander Schauffele got the monkey off his back and broke through for a major-championship title, finally, at the PGA Championship last month – topping Bryson DeChambeau by one after a final-hole birdie – all eyes will be on Scottie Scheffler yet again as the favourite.

    Scheffler finished tied for 8th at the PGA Championship – despite getting arrested Friday morning of tournament week – and has won four times already this season. He also has two runner-up finishes in his run of victories and has finished outside the top 10 only once so far this season on the PGA Tour.

    The only thing that may hold him back – save for any more run-ins with the law – might be his inexperience at Pinehurst. With a laugh, he said the only thing he knows about it came from a flyover video he watched the week prior to the tournament.

    Finally, one golfer who does have plenty of U.S. Open experience at Pinehurst that will be in the field on a special exemption is Tiger Woods. Woods was unable to play in the 2014 edition of the U.S. Open at Pinehurst as he was recovering from back surgery but he finished second in 2005 at the course and tied for third in 1999.

    Woods’ five-year exemption into the U.S. Open after winning the Masters in 2019 ended earlier this year. But the United States Golf Association extended him a special exemption into this year’s event, which he accepted.

    "The story of the U.S. Open could not be written without Tiger Woods," said USGA Chief Championships Officer John Bodenhamer. "From his 15-stroke victory at Pebble Beach in 2000 to his inspiring win on a broken leg at Torrey Pines in 2008, this championship is simply better when Tiger is in the field, and his accomplishments in the game undoubtedly made this an easy decision for our special exemption committee."

    From Tiger to Scottie to a solid Canadian contingent – including one making history – and all of the game’s best all set to tee it up on one of the game’s finest and most storied venues, the 2024 U.S. Open should be a thrilling one.