The US Open Golf returns to its roots at The Country Club, a venue steeped in history.
It is one of the five founding clubs of the United States Golf Association (USGA). Its first US Open was held in 1913 and marked the first time golf was on the front pages of American newspapers when Francis Ouimet, a 20-year-old amateur, bested a pair of British titans.
Beyond this course, it is no coincidence that golf, in times of war, is played in the Boston area, the seat of the American Revolution for Independence.
Golf is going through a revolution precisely.
More than a dozen PGA Tour players, including some big names like three US Open champions, have decided to leave the tour’s ranks and join a Saudi-funded rival league.
The Tour is telling them that they are no longer welcome. The battle lines are unlike anything this elegant sport has experienced in its 162-year history.
And that’s enough to steal attention from the US Open, the second oldest championship, known as the most difficult event in golf.
“These are strange times in professional golf,” said Rory McIlroy. “And I said it a couple of weeks ago, we’re just going to see how this season plays out.”
The US Open will be played in Brookline, Massachusetts for the fourth time on June 16-19, and it already features some surprising subplots.
Tiger Woods will not participate.
After getting through the cut at the Masters and the PGA Championship, Woods decided his right leg, which was shattered in a car accident in February 2021, needed more time to heal and grow stronger. He wants to be ready for next month’s British Open at St. Andrews.
Phil Mickelson will be participating in a major for the first time this year.
The left-hander got into a controversy over published statements about the Saudi League that managed to offend both sides. He said he wasn’t ready to play the Masters or the PGA Championship, and that his comeback would come at the LIV Golf Invitational, just outside London.
The USGA would take the characteristics of this “open” tournament very seriously. Thus, it would comply with admitting any player who earned his right to be on the field.
“Should a player who earned his right to participate in the 2022 US Open, based on our published criteria, be delisted as a result of his decision to play elsewhere? We ultimately decided no,” the USGA said in a statement.
A total of 14 players who qualified for the US Open were in the first group of the LIV Golf event, including former champions Dustin Johnson and Martin Kaymer. Another former monarch, Bryson DeChambeau, joined the Saudi league on Friday.