Expect some uncomfortable moments for Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson at this week’s US Open, where LIV golf rebels and US PGA fans chase a big headline in horrific situations.
Players set out for the rich new Saudi-sponsored series, which debuted in England last week, were suspended from the US PGA Tour event, but the US Golf Association is allowing them to play in the 122nd US Open.
It is set to intensify as showdown begins at The Country Club’s 7,254-yard, par-70 layout in suburban Boston on Thursday.
“I’m sure it’ll be awkward,” said Justin Thomas, who won his second PGA Championship last month. “When I saw the DJ last week, I didn’t know what to say, whether it was a congratulations or a farewell or whatever.
“I think we’ve all grown up and we understand there will be some people with whom you can do some jokes and some people will leave you alone, but in the end, we’re all there to win a major. “
Sixth-ranked Thomas knows there won’t be much time for short talk.
The 29-year-old American said, “I would say, a lot of boys, including myself, are not at the US Open for socialization.” “I don’t have to talk and catch up there.”
Former world number one Johnson and six-time major champion Mickelson were among the few stars who jumped into LIV golf with a record $ 25 million purse for the opening three-day event.
Other major winners on the PGA ban list include Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell, Louis Ostuyzen, Martin Keimer – who withdrew from Saturday’s open due to injury – and Charles Schwartzel, who won the $ 4 million LIV golf debut event.
Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed, also the main champion, joined LIV Golf over the weekend.
The US PGA Tour expelled those who played the LIV tournament from the PGA Tour event.
But the USGA stuck to its open qualifying standard and rewarded those who made 156 fields.
“We just asked ourselves this question – should a player who has made it to the 2022 US Open by our published field criteria be pulled off the field as a result of his decision to play in another event?” And we have finally decided that they should not, “the USGA said in a statement.
Not American Kevin, who chose LIV Golf, was happy to hear it.
“The majors are very important to me,” he said. “It’s something that was missing in my career and it was a dream of mine, to win a big championship, because I can remember.”
Tiger has missed the US Open
Tiger Woods, a 15-time major winner, returning from a serious foot injury in a February 2021 car accident, will skip the US Open to better prepare for the British Open, which starts on July 14 in St. Andrews.
Woods tweeted, “Major championship golf requires more time to strengthen my body.” “I’m excited to be back from there soon.”
Woods, 46, cut to the Masters in April and last month’s PGA Championship, but withdrew from the Southern Hills last day after being stuck in the third-worst big round of his career.
He also supported the PGA Tour, citing its legacy to legends such as Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicholas.
Shotmaking accuracy will be at a premium with the usual lightning-fast greens and dense roughness of the US Open.
American Billy Herschel, who won the Memorial earlier this month, finished his only top-15 in a major by dividing the fourth at the 2013 US Open.
“I’ve always felt like the US Open venues and the way they set them up is very good for me,” Herschel said.
“Of course my main record is quite uncomfortable, but I feel very confident.”
American Will Galatoris, who lost the PGA play-off to Thomas at the PGA Championship, is hoping for a tough test at Brooklyn.
“I played USM there in 2013. It was the toughest golf course I’ve ever played,” he said. “It was a big boy golf course. US Open. Don’t expect anything different.”
The country club has hosted three previous US Open, all won by the Americans, including the historic victory of amateur Francis Oimet in 1913 and the 1999 Rider Cup, when the Americans rallied on the final day to defeat Europe in the “Battle of Brooklyn”.
Mickelson has not been to the course since.
“It was one of the greatest moments of my life,” Mickelson said. “It simply came to our notice then. I can’t wait to get back. “
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