13 Jun 2023 | Professional golf |
How to follow the US Open
by Tony Webeck
This is the first time that Los Angeles Country Club has hosted the US Open, but the 2023 championship is not the first time the club received overtures to host the USGA’s flagship tournament.
One of the most exclusive clubs on the planet, LA Country Club hosted the 1930 US Women’s Amateur and the 1954 US Junior and was canvassed as to its interest in hosting the 1986 US Open.
The board met and voted 5-4 against it.
When your club in the heart of Hollywood boasts a membership roll call that includes Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart and Bing Crosby, importing superstars is an optional extra.
Yet a restoration by Gil Hanse of the 1928 George Thomas North Course design has encouraged the club to showcase their facility to the world and open the gates to the public for just the second time in almost 70 years (2017 Walker Cup).
The LA casting call from an Australian perspective is seven deep, led by world No.9 and reigning Open champion Cameron Smith.
After a muted beginning to his 2023 campaign, Smith peeled off a Sunday 65 to finish tied for ninth at the US PGA Championship and has spent the past two weeks at home in Florida hosting scholarship winners Jeffrey Guan and Joseph Buttress.
“I feel like it’s been trending probably the last six or seven weeks. It’s started to feel really good,” Smith said.
“Had a couple of weeks off at home. I’ve had a couple of boys, junior guys, come over from Australia, and I’ve been able to show them around, play a few rounds with them. It’s been good.”
Jason Day is also refreshed and in form, the 35-year-old breaking a five-year winless drought with victory at the AT&T Byron Nelson the week before the US PGA Championship.
Like Smith, Cam Davis shot 65 in the final round of the US PGA at Oakmont to record his best finish in a major championship as Min Woo Lee earned a share of 18th having started the final round in a tie for 10th.
A two-time winner at Riviera Country Club just 11 kilometres down Sunset Boulevard, Adam Scott comes in with three top-10 finishes in his past four starts while college star Karl Vilips will make not only his first appearance in a major but his first start on a major men’s golf tour.
Rounding out the Australian contingent is Victorian Lucas Herbert, who recorded his third DP World Tour win in Japan in April.
Live TV coverage AEST All programming on Fox Sports 503 and Kayo Sports Wednesday 9am Live From The US Open
Thursday 9am Live From The US Open 11.40pm-5am Round 1 Featured Groups
Friday 5am-1pm Round 1 1pm-3pm Live From The US Open 11.40pm-5am Round 2 Featured Groups
Saturday 5am-1pm Round 2 1pm-3pm Live From The US Open
Sunday 12am-5am Round 3 Featured Groups 5am-1pm Round 3 1pm-3pm Live From The US Open
Monday 12am-4am Round 3 Featured Groups 4am-12pm Round 4 12pm-2pm Live From The US Open
Round 1 tee times AEST 12.07am* Lucas Herbert, Scott Stallings, Preston Summerhays (a) 1.02am Adam Scott, Gary Woodland, Corey Conners 1.02am* Jason Day, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler 1.35am Ryan Fox (NZ), Matthew McClean (a), Seamus Power 6.21am Cam Davis, Kurt Kitayama, Russell Henley 6.32am Cameron Smith, Sam Bennett, Matt Fitzpatrick 6.54am* Min Woo Lee, Davis Thompson, Justin Suh 7.16am Karl Vilips (a), Olin Browne Jr, David Puig
Australian Player Profiles Cameron Smith World ranking: 9 Age: 29 Major wins: 1 (2022 Open Championship) PGA Tour wins: 6 Best finish at the US Open: T4 in 2015 Best finish in 2023: 2nd at LIV Golf Tulsa How he qualified: Winner of 2022 Open Championship The expectation: With his Open defence on the horizon, Smith stormed home with a record-equalling final round to finish tied for ninth at the US PGA Championship. Shot 9-under in the final round at LIV Golf Tulsa to force a playoff with Dustin Johnson that Johnson ultimately won. The creativity necessary around the greens at LA Country Club should play to Smith’s strength as he chases a second major championship.
Jason Day World ranking: 23 Age: 35 Major wins: 1 (2015 US PGA) PGA Tour wins: 13 Best finish at the US Open: T2 in 2011, 2013 Best finish in 2023: Won AT&T Byron Nelson How he qualified: Top 60 points leaders in the Official World Golf Ranking as of May 22, 2023 The expectation: Won his 13th PGA TOUR title the week before the PGA Championship which perhaps impacted his preparation for the brutal test that was Oakmont. Just missed the cut there and at Memorial but has been without doubt one of the form players of 2023 and has a history of contending in US Opens. Fresh, fit and ready to fire.
Adam Scott World ranking: 37 Age: 42 Major wins: 1 (2013 Masters) PGA Tour wins: 14 Best finish at the US Open: T4 in 2015 Best finish in 2023: T5 at Wells Fargo Championship (PGA TOUR)| How he qualified: Those players who qualified and were eligible for the 2022 season-ending Tour Championship The expectation: Somewhat slow out of the blocks to start 2023, Scott has logged top-10 finishes in three of his past four starts ahead of his 22nd US Open appearance. Although perhaps not his favoured major with regards to suitability, a switch to a TaylorMade Stealth driver in recent months has him ranked tied for 14th in Driving Distance and tied for 15th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee. A good driving week will be key in improving on his US Open record (three top-10s) in what is his 88th straight start in a major.
Cam Davis World ranking: 53 Age: 28 Major wins: 0 PGA Tour wins: 1 Best finish at US Open: First appearance Best finish in 2023: T4 US PGA Championship How he qualified: Top 60 points leaders in the Official World Golf Ranking as of May 22, 2023 Expectation: Delivered by far his best performance in a major championship with a tie for fourth at the US PGA Championship at Oakmont last month. Given he was also tied for sixth at THE PLAYERS Championship in March, is showing growing confidence at the game’s highest level. No reason to expect he can’t feature deep into the weekend once again.
Lucas Herbert World ranking: 55 Age: 27 Major wins: 0 PGA Tour wins: 1 Best finish at the US Open: T31 in 2020 Best finish in 2023: Won ISPS HANDA Championship (DP World Tour) How he qualified: Top 60 points leaders in the Official World Golf Ranking as of May 22, 2023 The expectation: Given his US Open record (3 starts, 2 MCs) and the roller-coaster nature of his season to date, it is hard to know what to expect from the mercurial Victorian. His status as one of the best putters on the planet means that if he can marry up his ball-striking for four days, he will put himself in the mix going into championship Sunday.
Min Woo Lee World ranking: 65 Age: 24 Major wins: 0 PGA Tour wins: 0 Best finish at the US Open: T27 in 2022 Best finish in 2023: T2 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship (DP World Tour) How he qualified: The top player on the 2023 Race to Dubai Rankings as of May 22, 2023, who is not otherwise exempt The expectation: Followed up his breakout performance in the US at THE PLAYERS Championship with another strong showing at the PGA Championship. Tied for 10th entering the final round, Lee lost ground in Round 4 yet his tie for 18th was his second top-20 finish in a major championship. Was tied for 40th in his only start since at the Charles Schwab Challenge so should arrive at LA Country Club feeling confident and mentally fresh.
Karl Vilips (a) World amateur ranking: 63 Age: 21 Major wins: 0 PGA Tour wins: 0 Best finish at the US Open: First appearance Best finish in 2023: 5th at The Prestige (College) How he qualified: Shot 68-70 in Final Qualifying at Woodmont Country Club The expectation: Not only is Vilips making his major championship debut but it is his first start on any major men’s world tour. Hailing from Perth, Vilips was a standout junior who enjoyed success on the world stage, including two US Kids World Championship wins and two Callaway Junior Worlds titles. That led to offers from US high schools where he continued his junior success and was offered a spot on the Stanford University Golf program. A two-time junior Presidents Cup representative, Vilips goes by the Instagram handle of ‘Koala Karl’ and won gold at the 2018 Youth Olympics. This week represents another step towards his ultimate destiny as a professional golfer.
Australian winners of the US Open David Graham (1981, Merion) Geoff Ogilvy (2006, Winged Foot)
Social media Twitter: @usopengolf Instagram: @usopengolf Hashtag: #USOpen
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