Ahead of the second Major Championship of 2018, we highlight five facts and stats about this year’s U.S. Open Championship.
51 European Tour members
The European Tour will be making its presence known at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club with 51 members in the field this week.
Nearly a third of the field in America will be members from the European Tour with eight of the 51 making their U.S. Open debuts, namely Dean Burmester, Ryan Evans, Ryan Fox, Dylan Frittelli, Lucas Herbert, Matthieu Pavon, Shubhankar Sharma and Paul Waring.
Evans was a late call-up to the U.S. Open after finishing as the first alternate in the Sectional Qualifying at Walton Heath last week. The Englishman lost out to Waring in the play-off for the 14th and last automatic spot at the Surrey venue but got the call at the beginning of the week.
Return to Shinnecock
The U.S. Open returns to Shinnecock Hills for the fifth time this week and for the first time since 2004, when Retief Goosen was crowned champion.
Corey Pavin claimed the title in 1995 after Raymond Floyd won it in 1986 on a drama-filled day in which ten golfers held or shared the lead during the final round. James Foulis secured victory over a century ago in 1896 when he triumphed in the second ever U.S. Open, pocketing a grand total of $200 for first place.
The clubhouse at Shinnecock Hills is also reportedly the oldest in the country.
Fleetwood to fly once again
Tommy Fleetwood announced himself to the American audience at last year’s U.S. Open with a fourth place finish at Erin Hills.
The Englishman had already won during the 2017 season at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and was on form heading into the second Major of the year. He continued his outstanding form on the Major stage with a fourth-place finish, impressing his new American fan base with his accuracy and natural skill (as well as those flowing locks!) in advancing up the leaderboard.
One year on, the charismatic Englishman is known to the American crowds but could still fly under the radar at Shinnecock Hills, even with his successive titles from Abu Dhabi and a top 20 finish at The Masters Tournament.
Past champions to shine again
The ten most recent winners of the U.S. Open are teeing it up this week, while Ernie Els and Jim Furyk bring the number of former champions in the field to 12.
Four of Europe’s best will be looking to add another U.S. Open title to their name when they get under way later this week. Germany’s Martin Kaymer was the last European winner of the event in 2014, while Englishman Justin Rose triumphed a year earlier at Merion Golf Club. Successive European wins came shortly before Rose’s success, as Rory McIlroy claimed his first major in 2011 after countryman Graeme McDowell also won his maiden Major at Pebble Beach in 2010.
Back-to-back for Koepka?
American Brooks Koepka will attempt to join the history books by becoming the first player to successfully defend the U.S. Open since Curtis Strange (1988-89).
Koepka won his first Major in last year’s U.S. Open at Erin Hills, finishing four shots ahead of Brian Harman and Hideki Matsuyama.
The 28 year old has been bothered by a series of niggling injuries since his Major breakthrough 12 months ago but seems to be heading back towards full fitness after finishing second at the Fort Worth Invitational three weeks ago following a share of 11th place at The Players Championship two weeks beforehand.