The 2018 U.S. Open Golf Championship will tee off at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, New York, beginning June 11 with three days of practice rounds. And for fans wanting to catch the participating golfers in action before the competition begins, that means catching players who choose to play a full round between 6:45 a.m. and 3 p.m., which is generally the time they hit the course. But, it’s not unusual for players to be on the course or practice areas until at least 7 p.m. The championship rounds for the 118th U.S. Open will be in full swing June 14-17.
Qualifying rounds for the U.S. Open are held annually by the USGA at more than 100 locations in the United States, as well as a few internationally. If players rank high enough in a local qualifying round, they advance to a sectional qualifying round and if they finish high enough in the sectional qualifier, they advance to the U.S. Open.
Of the nearly 8,800 total competitors from 26 countries around the world hoping to make their way into this year’s elite championship competition, 150 qualified players will be amongst those in the final field for the 2018 U.S. Open. They will be joined by golfers who were exempt from any qualifying rounds, bringing the total number of players in the 72-hole championship to 156.
According to Golfweek magazine, the top 10 players contending for the approximately 8 1/2-pound sterling silver U.S. Open Trophy this year are: Dustin Johnson (USA); Justin Rose (England); Phil Mickelson (USA); Webb Simpson (USA); Tiger Woods (USA); Jason Day (Australia); Jordan Spieth (USA); Justin Thomas (USA); Brooks Koepka (USA, 2017 U.S. Open champion); and Rickie Fowler (USA).
Located about 90 miles east of New York City, the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club was one of the five founding members of the USGA. The beginnings of its 300-acre golf course date back to 1891, when the course’s first 12 holes were created, and it was one of the first golf courses to feature a specifically designed clubhouse. This year marks the fifth time the U.S. Open is being held at Shinnecock Hills. The first was in 1896, one year after this major golf event featuring the world’s best was first held.
James Foulis was the winner of the 1896 championship; he’d finished third in the previous year’s competition, which was won by Horace Rawlins. Foulis won a mere $150 in the 1896 U.S. Open, according to the PGA — a stark contrast to the $2.16 million share of the $12 million championship purse that this year’s winner will receive.
The links-style course will play as a par 70 at 7,445 yards, increasing by nearly 450 yards from the 2004 U.S. Open due to the addition of 10 new back tees. Other adjustments include the downhill par-4 14th hole, which is now 519 yards, and the winding par-5 16th hole that is now 616 yards. Also, 7 acres of fairway have been converted to rough, which was done as part of 2012 project undertaking to restore the course to its 1931 design, according to Graphic News.
“It’s great to be back to, really, one of the iconic venues of the United States Open, to one of the founding clubs of the United States Golf Association — just a lot of excitement at Golf House to come back” said Jeff Hall, USGA managing director of rules and competitions, in a video on the U.S. Open website.
“The club went through a restoration about five years ago to really bring back the vision, the strategy that William Flynn (prominent golf course architect) built into this golf course, and we’re excited to be able to highlight those changes: a wider golf course; a bit longer — about 400 yards longer; 10 new tees were added to bring it, if you will, to modern U.S. Open standards.
“But what’s going on right now is actually a bit of a tightening of the project that the club undertook, just to kind of bring the fairway widths into U.S. Open standards. As you know, we look at the U.S. Open as the ultimate test of golf, and accuracy is a key component, so we’re going to tighten things up a bit. But, that said, it’s going to be the widest U.S. Open we’ve played here in the last four decades.”
For more information, to view the full roster of players or to purchase tickets to the 2018 U.S. Open, visit the website at usopen.com.