Who’ll win the US Open?
The facts, figures and stories behind Shinnecock’s return
What do I need to know?
The 118th US Open will be contested at Shinnecock Hills in New York. If fit, Brooks Koepka will be bidding to become the first man to retain the trophy since Curtis Strange in 1989. This year, the field will be made up of 156 players, which will be cut to 60 and ties after the second round. If two or more golfers are tied after 72 holes, a two-hole aggregate play-off will replace the customary 18-hole play-off for the first time in a US Open.
What do the history books say?
Apart from being the oldest golf club in the US, Shinnecock was the first venue to host the US Open in three centuries. This year will represent the fifth time the prestigious championship has been staged there, and the first since Retief Goosen won in 2004. Other former winners at Shinnecock include James Foulis (1896), Raymond Floyd (1986) and Corey Pavin (1995).
What’s changed since 2004?
For starters, we won’t see a repeat of the disastrously dry conditions which caused play to be suspended after players started putting off the 7th green and into the bunker. “That will not happen again,” says Mike Davis, USGA executive director. “If it does, I’m retiring.” Another change will see the par-70 course play longer than ever before. Ten new back tees have stretched the yardage from 6,996 to 7,445 yards. To make the layout leaner and meaner, seven acres of fairway have also been converted into fescue rough and tee positions have been altered to bring more bunkers into play.
Who has form at Shinnecock Hills?
Not many. Only two of the world’s top 10 have ever played at Shinnecock competitively. The grand-slam chasing Phil Mickelson has perhaps the best record, with a tied fourth in 1995 and a runner-up in 2004. In comparison, Tiger withdrew during the second round in 1995 due to injury and then finished tied 17th on 10 over par – his joint-third highest 72-hole score in a Major – nine years later. Adam Scott currently holds the course record (63), but Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler played Shinnecock last autumn and both shot rounds of 65...
Can Tiger play this year?
He can, but only just. His 10-year exemption as a past champion expires after 2018. Past winners Jim Furyk and Ernie Els have had to rely on a special exemption to get in this year.
When and where can I watch the action?
Live coverage and highlights will be shown exclusively on Sky Sports, from June 14-17.