US OPEN 2017: 18 things you need to know

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As the second Major of the year fast approaches, we've put together a list of things you need to know about the US Open. 

From its brand-new location to its staggering prize fund and the challenges players will face at Erin Hills, Wisconsin. 

1. The difficulty of defending the US Open title
World No.1 Dustin Johnson will defend the title from June 15-18. The last man to retain the trophy was Curtis Strange in 1989.

2. Making history in the state of Wisconsin 
The Championship will be contested in Wisconsin for the first time in the US Open’s 117-year history.

3. Erin Hills: A purpose build course
Erin Hills is a walking-only public course, purpose built for hosting a Major Championship. It officially opened in 2006 and was awarded the 2017 US Open just four years later.

4. The Course Layout
The course, designed by Dr Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry and Ron Whitten, is the first par-72 layout to host the US Open since Pebble Beach in 1992.

5. The US Amateur Championship
Ben Geyer and Mike Ignasiak shot a six-under par 66 – a course record – during the 2011 US Amateur. Kelly Craft won the Championship that year, with Jordan Spieth bowing out at the quarter- final stage.

6. Possibly the longest course in US Open history
A six-tee system means the overall length varies from 5,082 to 7,800 off the tips. This week it will play 7,741 yards - the longest course in both US Open and major championship history.

7. The par 5s are not made for short-hitters

All four par 5s measure more than 600 yards off the back tees, with the 18th totalling an eye-watering 660 yards.

8. Beware of the fescue
The fescue-lined fairways fit the USGA mantra that ‘brown is the new green’. It’s not quite Chambers Bay, but expect some links-style bounces. It's already been causing a lot of controversy

9. No trees at Erin Hills
The US Open course is practically treeless. Only six remain after 325 were cut down between 2009 and 2010.

Erin Hills has practically no trees

10. Little room for error
Any wayward shots off the tee will likely end up in fescue rough some 12-15 inches long

11. It's going to be a big unknown to the big names in golf
One of the more fascinating parts to this golf course is the fact that it’s so brand new, says Eric Steimer, USGA Championship manager. “You know a lot of the players that we’ve been talking about for the past decade, the Phil Mickelson’s, the Tiger Woods of the world. They’ve never been out here”

12. Up there with the best?
Mike Davis, USGA Director, compares Erin Hills to some of the great US Open sites, like Shinnecock, like Pebble Beach, like Oakmont.

13. Irish Whisky mid-round?
The entire Erin Hills estate totals 652 acres and includes an Irish pub, a terrace with fire pits and a refurbished barn for private events. Accommodation is also offered in the form of five cottages and a lodge with individual rooms and suites.

14. It's not cheap to play
The club has no members and has been closed since the start of October. The course will reopen to the public again in July, but a green fee will set you back $280.

15. The field
The field will be made up of 156 players. This will be cut to 60 (plus ties) after the second round.

16. The Monday Play-off
If the scores are tied after 72 holes, an 18-hole play-off will take place on Monday, June 19.

17. The astonishing prize fund
The $12million prize fund is the largest in Major history. The winner gets more than $2 million.

18. US Open qualifier in England
One of the three sectional qualifiers took place at Walton Heath, Surrey, on May 29. Of the 15 qualifiers, nine were from GB&I, including winner Aaron Rai, Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston, Richie Ramsay and Bradley Dredge