The 118th U.S. Open unfolds this weekend across four days at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, New York. It’s the fifth time the club has hosted America’s national championship.
The tournament first visited these grounds in 1896, the year of the second U.S. Open ever, and has since returned in 1986, 1995, 2004, and now 2018. The course has been a consistently challenging test for the world’s best players and should be again this year. Its fairways are about 15 yards wider than they were in ‘04, but the track is still difficult.
This year’s 156-man field includes all of the world’s best players and biggest names. It includes 12 past U.S. Open champions, with Tiger Woods headlining. Woods is playing in this event for the first time since an injury-addled effort led to him missing the cut at Chambers Bay in 2015. He seeks his first U.S. Open win (and major win of any kind) since 2008, when he beat Rocco Mediate in a dramatic playoff at Torrey Pines.
Throughout the tournament, we’ll update this post with scores, highlights, observations, and more from Shinnecock Hills.
All times are Eastern.
Rory McIlroy’s start — +6 over the first five holes — was endemic of the early struggles at Shinnecock Hills, but his rally may have just begun on the 15th hole. His birdie there was the first for a grouping that also includes Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth. Together, that trio is a combined +13 through six holes.
The leader at this early moment is Charley Hoffman, who’s played to 2-under over his first four holes. Hoffman just made birdie at the par-4 13th after sticking an approach shot 12 feet away and draining his putt. Hoffman’s never gotten that close to winning a major, but he’s been competitive in these events before. He finished ninth in last year’s U.S. Open at Erin Hills. Hoffman’s one of just six players under par. There are 59 players over par.
The thing to know early: Shinnecock Hills is brutal:
After the first two hours of play Thursday, the course was being mean. Ten players were under par, and 33 were over in the early going.
Some of the ugliest results were coming from guys you’ve never heard of, but not all of them. Jordan Spieth started his day by bogeying the par-4 10th hole and then making triple on the par-3 11th, a 157-yard uphill hole with a tough green area. On that hole, Spieth flew his tee shot into a green-side bunker to the right of the hole, wedged out to beyond the green, came up short with a pitch attempt that rolled back to him, and two-putted for his triple-bogey. Spieth was plus-4 through two holes.
The ugliest single thing that happened in the early-going: someone making a 9 on the brutal, 536-yard par-4 14th hole.
Five hundred thirty-six yards! A par-4! That’s a lot even for the best players in the world, all of whom are in this 156-man field. The world’s No. 155 player is an American named Scott Stallings. He hit his tee shot about 300 yards, but lost it into some of the tall grass just to the right of the fairway. After hacking out to 135 yards from the flagstick, Stallings hit an approach shot that skidded off the back of the green and required him to pitch back up.
The official leaderboard is here. We’ll update the leaders here throughout the day:
TV: 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m ET on FS1, 4:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. ET on FOX.
All times are Eastern. Here’s the full listand here are some big names:
7:29 a.m.: Louis Oosthuizen, Jimmy Walker, Justin Rose
7:40 a.m.: Bubba Watson, Jason Day, Brooks Koepka
8:13 a.m.: Bryson DeChambeau, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Matt Kuchar
1:14 p.m.: Sergio Garcia, Jon Rahm, Rafa Cabrera Bello
1:25 p.m.: Tommy Fleetwood, Francesco Molinari, Alexander Noren
1:47 p.m.: Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Tiger Woods
7:51 a.m.: Zach Johnson, Charl Schwartzel, Patrick Reed
8:02 a.m.: Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson
8:13 a.m.: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Rickie Fowler
1:25 p.m.: Lucas Glover, Webb Simpson, Graeme McDowell
1:36 p.m.: Ernie Els, Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk
1:47 p.m.: Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott, Martin Kaymer
To reduce bottlenecking and get more players onto the course at once, the USGA uses a split-tee setup on Thursday and Friday. Everyone tees off No. 1 on Saturday and Sunday, after much of the field has been cut.