Dan Box
By Dan Box

After a tumultuous week, Rory McIlroy's win at the RBC Canadian Open on Sunday night couldn't have been better timing for Jay Monahan and the PGA Tour.

The fact that the top 3 was made up of McIlroy, Tony Finau and Justin Thomas, three of the most popular players in golf, was just what the Tour needed after losing the likes of Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed to the LIV Golf Series in the last week.

It seems odd to be heading into a major week with the actual major being so far down the list of headlines in the golfing world - there's been hardly any talk on the golf course or who the favourite is in the news over the past few days - but when the action gets underway on Thursday it will surely be all business once again.

2022 US Open Preview

Image Credit: US Open

Golfers who have joined the LIV Golf Series will be permitted to play in this year's US Open and this will add yet more intrigue to the year's third major.

Last Year

Jon Rahm won his first major title in very impressive fashion at Torrey Pines, holing two incredible putts on 17 and 18, beating Louis Oosthuizen by one stroke and becoming the first Spaniard ever to lift the US Open trophy.

At the halfway stage of the tournament, the lead was shared between Russell Henley and Englishman Richard Bland, with Mackenzie Hughes joining Henley and Oosthuizen at the top on Saturday night.

Bryson DeChambeau, the 2020 champion, held the solo lead after the eighth hole but played his last nine holes in eight-over par to eventually finish in a tie for 26th place.

Brooks Koepka and Collin Morikawa finished at 2 under par in a tie for 4th place.

The Field

USGA decided to allow LIV Golf competitiors to play in this week's US Open, which means the field is about as strong as it can be this week. Whether this will be the same for every major remains to be seen though...

Tiger Woods decided to skip the US Open after withdrawing from the PGA Championship, and will now focus his attention on trying to be fit for the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews next month.

Headlining the field are World Number One Scottie Scheffler, defending champion Jon Rahm, PGA Champion Justin Thomas and last week's winner Rory McIlroy.

It will be interesting to see the reception given to the likes of Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson in their first appearance on home shores after they made the switch to LIV.

The Course

This week's event will be held at The Country Club, often known as Brookline, on the outskirts of Boston. One of the oldest country clubs in the US, it was also one of the clubs that helped to found the USGA in the 19th Century and has enjoyed an illustrious history as host of some of the game's biggest events.

Brookline was the site of the 1999 Ryder Cup, regarded as one of the most intense and contentious matches in the history of the event - so it seems quite apt that we are here again this week considering all of the tension caused by LIV golf this week!

A Par 70 that can stretch to just over 7,200 yards, Brookline is known for its small greens which will combine with tight fairways and thick rough, with plenty of blind tee shots too. Keeping the ball on the fairway will be vital to controlling shots into the greens.

Look Out For...

  • Spicy press conferences

Given that the LIV Golf players have been permitted to play this week, they are bound to be met with plenty of questions from the media if the USGA decides to put any of them forward for pre-tournament press conferences.

Phil Mickelson already received a grilling from the press on Monday afternoon, whilst Bryson DeChambeau raised eyebrows when he described his move as a 'business decision'. Stand by for plenty more soundbites coming during the week.

  • Grayson Murray v Kevin Na

It's pretty well documented that these two golfers don't like each other... at all. But thanks to the USGA organising their locker room in alphabetical order, the pair will spend the next week changing right next to each other. Things could get awkward.

  • Lots of mentions for 1913 and 1999

As mentioned earlier Brookline was the scene of the 1999 Ryder Cup, but it was perhaps best known as the site for Francis Ouimet's famous victory at the 1913 US Open, when he became the first amateur to win the event as a complete unknown in one of the largest upsets in the sport's history.

Golfalot Tips...

Jon Rahm @ 16/1

The Spaniard has the game to win every week if he plays well, and we think he could follow in the footsteps of Brooks Koepka and successfully defend his US Open title this week at Brookline. He does everything well - hits it miles, finds fairways, hits plenty of greens, and judging by his putting on the final two holes of last year's US Open, makes putts when he needs to.

He's also been in good form too, winning in Mexico and notching up a Top 10 at The Memorial in his last start. Whilst McIlroy and Justin Thomas are the favourites this week, it feels like a second major title must be just around the corner for Rahm.

Matt Fitzpatrick @ 30/1

The Englishman is still yet to win a professional event in the US but it feels like just a matter of time, as he is contending more and more often. He has gained distance in the last couple of years and his putting and scrambling is still as good as ever, as was shown when he posted a T4 finish at the PGA Championship and had a very good chance to win.

Fitzpatrick also won the US Amateur here in 2013 so should have good memories of the golf course and at T10 finish last week is a great warmup.

Shane Lowry @ 35/1

The Irishman has been in fantastic form so far in 2022, making every cut and posting four top 10 finishes in 12 starts, including a T3 finish at The Masters. His excellent short game will come in handy in US Open setups and he has come close in the past at this event, most notably in 2016 when he lost out to Dustin Johnson.

Sungjae Im @ 40/1

One of the best ball-strikers in the game, Im relies on his accuracy and consistent iron play and has shown real signs of form in recent weeks, finishing no worse than 21st in his last four starts.

He's made the cut comfortably in the last two US Opens and has a number of good finishes in majors already at the age of just 24. If his putter plays ball, he could contend.

Corey Conners @ 60/1

Conners is another excellent iron player which will be vital on the small greens this week, and like Fitzpatrick he should feel relatively confident heading in after reaching the semi-finals of the US Amateur.

The Canadian also played well last week at his home Open, shooting 66-62 over the weekend and currently sits at a career best of 30 in the World Rankings.

Tommy Fleetwood @ 70/1

The Englishman hasn't missed a cut since February and has shown plenty of consistency without quite contending on a Sunday afternoon yet this year, despite recording a top five finish at the PGA Championship. He's also come close twice before in the US Open and at 70/1 could be good each-way value.


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