Golf's second Major of 2020 sees the US Open head to New York where the world's best players will battle it out across Wing Foot's West Course from September 17-20.
It's been 14 years since a Major Championship last visited this part of New York, the 2006 US Open producing one of the most dramatic climaxes to a golf tournament of all time as Australian Geoff Ogilvy held his nerve while the likes of Phil Mickelson and Colin Montgomerie succumbed to Winged Foot's treacherous closing stretch.
If you're expecting a birdie-fest and 20-under-par winning score then look away know... this year's US Open looks set to test the world's top golfers' skills and mental strength more than ever.
Here's everything you need to know about the 120th US Open golf tournament at Winged Foot.
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Isn’t the US Open normally played in June?
It sure is. This will be the first-time the US Open hasn’t been played in June since 1932. The Covid-19 global health pandemic means this year’s rescheduled tournament will now take place from September 17-20 and will actually be the second event of the 2020-2021 PGA Tour season, played just a fortnight after Dustin Johnson won the 2019-2020 season-ending Tour Championship and FedExCup at East Lake.
Wait, so we are going to have two US Opens in the 2020-2021 PGA Tour season?
Yes, we are! This PGA Tour season will actually include six Major Championships, starting with the rescheduled US Open at Winged Foot and followed by the rescheduled Masters at Augusta National (November 12-15).
All being well, we’ll then see the usual four Majors in 2021, starting with the Masters (April 8-11) and followed by the US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island (May 19-23), US Open at Torrey Pines (June 17-20) and The 149th Open Championship at Royal St George’s (July 15-18).
What do I need to know about Winged Foot Golf Club?
It's a private members club in Mamaroneck, New York, 24 miles north-west of Manhattan. It has two golf courses, the East and West, with the latter hosting the 2020 US Open. The West was designed by A. W. Tillinghast, the man behind other revered Major-hosting venues Baltusrol (Lower) and Bethpage Black.
Founded by a consortium of New York Athletic Club (NYAC) members in 1921, Winged Foot opened in 1923. Despite getting its name and logo from the NYAC's logo, it has no direct affiliation.
The West Course is a par 72 that measures 7,264 yards, although it will play up to 7,477 yard and a par 70 for the US Open. It regularly features in the upper echelons of American golf course rankings. The East Course is a 6,750-yard par 72 and is also considered one of America's top 100 golf courses.
Has Winged Foot hosted the US Open before?
Yes. This will be the sixth time the West Course has hosted the US Open since opening in 1923.
The last winner of the US Open at Winged Foot was Geoff Ogilvy in 2006, whose score of five-over-par bettered Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk and Colin Montgomerie by one shot. Other past champions at Winged Foot include Bobby Jones , Billy Casper , Hale Irwin  and Fuzzy Zoeller .
The West Course also played host to the 1997 US PGA Championship. A far kinder set-up saw Davis Love III prevail on 11-under par, five strokes ahead of Justin Leonard.
Winged Foot’s East course has also seen Major action, with the 1957 and 1972 US Women’s Opens, won by Betty Rawls and Susie Berning respectively, and Roberto De Vicenzo victorious in the 1980 US Senior Open. Dick Chapman (1940) and Ryan Moore (2004) mastered both courses in winning the US Amateur here.
Will there be any fans allowed?
No, the US Open will follow the successful lead of the PGA Tour since its return and be played behind closed doors with everyone on site following strict rules.
The New York Department of Health has made professional sports teams and players exempt from quarantine. Crucially, that extension applies to all players and caddies competing in the US Open.
Everyone who will be at the event – about 2,000 people per day – will be tested for Covid-19 upon arrival and be subject to daily temperature checks and a health questionnaire.
US Open golf courses tend to be difficult. Will Winged Foot be any different?
No. In fact, historically, Winged Foot trumps Oakmont as the toughest US Open venue. Over-par scores have won four of its five US Opens, with 1984 winner Fuzzy Zoeller and runner-up Greg Norman the only players ever to shoot under-par across 72 holes.
Winged Foot’s most recent hosting saw Austalia’s Geoff Ogilvy win in 2006, his five-over-par score enough to secure a dramatic first Major crown, as you can see below.
Which holes will prove crucial in deciding the US Open champion?
The 18th hole could well prove decisive, as Phil Mickelson, Colin Montgomerie, Padraig Harrington and Jim Furyk showed in one of the most dramatic endings in Major championship history in 2006.
Mickelson, seeking his third Major win in a row, and Monty, seeking his first, threw away their chances of victory with double-bogey sixes on the 72nd hole. Harrington had the chance to win his first Major but, needing three pars, he made three bogeys. And Furyk, the 2003 champion, missed out a play-off with Ogilvy by making a clsoing bogey. That week, the 18th averaged 0.47 over par.
Claude Harmon, who was head professional at Winged Foot when he won the 1948 Masters, once said the course's difficulty lies in the opening four and closing four holes. In 2006 many players admitted that their goal was to be one-over-par standing on the 5th tee, while Ogilvy's Sunday par-par-par-par finish proved enough to move through the field for victory.
Jack Nicklaus may tell you that its biggest test lies at the 1st… the 18-time Major champion putted off the 1st green in his first round in 1974 and took another three putts to hole out.
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So, we can we expect another stern, high-scoring test from the USGA, with long rough and firm greens?
While the rough is up to six inches deep in places, Winged Foot is most famous for its small yet seriously sloping greens.
Tiger Woods once described them as “the most severe you’ll ever face”. Ernie Els even reckons they are more undulating and challenging than at Augusta National.
In preparation for the US Open, course architect Gil Hanse returned all 18 greens on the West Course to A.W.Tillinghast’s original design.
Arguably, while the Majors are being played without fans, the courses play fairer than ever. Often, with grandstands and spectators present, the punishment for missing the fairway by 25 yards is less severe than missing it by five, thanks to trodden down rough or relief being offered.
Will the course suit the big hitters?
While Bryson DeChambeau might be one of few players capable of reaching the 633-yard 6th, one of only two par 5s on the course, the premium is on keeping the ball in play around here, so expect to see plenty of course strategy.
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In 2006, Phil Mickelson was wild off the tee but produced one of the finest short game performances of his career to keep himself in contention until the very end... unfortunately, not everyone boasts a short game of such quality, so expect to see plenty of players hopes go out of the window very quickly if they're not in control off the tee.
There are 11 dog-legs in total and every green, except the 6th and 18th, is flanked by deep bunkers either side.
What are the pros saying about Winged Foot?
After playing two practice rounds with Tiger Woods last month, Justin Thomas predicted the winning score could be as high as six-over-par.
“It’s really hard,” the World No.3 said. “I absolutely loved it. It’s one of my favorite, if not my favorite courses I’ve ever played.
"It’s right there in front of you. It’s not tricked up. Nothing is hidden. You just stand on the tee and you’re about 490 yards away and you have a really narrow fairway and a pretty severe green. There’s a lot of holes like that.”
Jon Rahm took in a practice round on the West course after his BMW Championship victory.
“It’s just a difficult course,” the World No.2 said. “It’s long, narrow and undulating. You need to play really good golf.
“If it gets firm like some USGA guys told me they want it to be, I don’t see how any of us shoot under par. Or if we shoot under par, it would mean somebody winning by a lot.”
TV analyst David Feherty isn't sure all of the players will adapt.
“I expect a lot of whining,” the former Ryder Cup player said. “There always is [whining] when you’ve got a golf course that’s so penal off the tee.”
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Brooks Koepka's record and love for a tough course must make him a favourite?
He certainly would be... but the two-time US Open winner won't be playing. The four-time Major champion announced earlier this week that he'd be withdrawing from the event at Winged Foot, citing lingering hip and knee injuries, and has been replaced in the field by Englishman Paul Waring.
Koepka had already missed the entire FedExCup Playoffs series, his last appearance coming at the US PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park, where a disastrous final round ended his hopes of winning the title for a third consecutive year. He also had to receive treatment during the second round, but played down injury fears.
It would be wise for the field to enjoy Koepka's absence... the last time he missed a Major (the 2018 Masters) he returned to win three of the next five and finished runner-up at the Masters! His withdrawal leaves the US PGA as the only Major he hasn't missed in his career.
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Has anyone else had to withdraw?
Yes, Scottie Scheffler (below) and Sam Horsfield are both out after testing positive for Covid-19 - the first positive tests on the PGA Tour in six weeks. Both players are asymptomatic but have withdrawn as a precaution.
Scheffler, who was named PGA Tour Rookie of the Year just hours after his withdrawal, was heading to Winged Foot in fine form having fired a 59 at the Northern Trust and recorded top-five finishes in three of his last four starts, including a T4 at the US PGA Championship. The 24-year-old is replaced in the field by Branden Grace, who, ironically, missed the PGA Championship after tesying positive for Covid-19.
Englishman Horsfield, who qualified by winning the Hero Open and Celtic Classic on the European Tour's recent UK swing, had been hoping to play in his fourth US Open. He had tested negative before travelling to New York but provided a positive test upon arrival at Winged Foot.
"It goes without saying that I am hugely disappointed to not have the opportunity to play in my 4th US Open but clearly the safety of the tournament and other players is paramount," the 23-year-old wrote on his social media channels. "I want to wish everyone all the best for a great week at Winged Foot and thank all the staff at the USGA & PGA Tour in helping me navigate the situation."
Horsfield will be replaced in the field by Rory Sabbatini, who will make his 13th US Open appearance start. Former US Amateur champ Doc Redman is now first alternate should there be any further withdrawals.
Could Gary Woodland follow Brooks Koepka in defending the title?
Woodland's had a mixed time since winning his maiden Major at Pebble Beach and hasn't won since. He managed seven top-10 finishes in the 2019-2020 PGA Tour season, with his tied-3rd finish at The CJ Cup at Nine Bridges his best result.
The 36 year-old missed out on this year's Tour Championship and has slipped from 12th to 25th in the World rankings, one position lower than he was ahead of last year's US Open. The bookies have him at a pretty lengthy 60-1 but, that said, we shouldn't rule him out as his form entering the 2019 tournament was far from spectacular.
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What are Tiger Woods’ chances of winning Major No.16?
His record here isn't great, but the evidence isn't that recent. Woods finished tied-29th at the 1997 PGA Championship and missed his first Major cut as a pro at the 2006 US Open here in his return to competition following the death of his father, Earl.
He took an early look at the course during a practice round with Justin Thomas last month, after which Thomas suggested he'd beaten the 15-time Major champion and predicted an extremely tough examination for all when the Major begins.
Having missed out on the Tour Championship Tiger will head to Winged Foot refreshed after two weeks off, although temperatures aren’t forecast to get much above 17ºC (63ºF) all week, which could prove problematic if he gets an early tee time.
If Tiger does manage to win, he will join Willie Anderson, Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus as the only four-time winners of the US Open following his victories in 2000, 2002 and 2008.
Despite their recent love-in, one man who won’t be rooting for a Woods victory is Phil Mickelson. If Lefty wins, he’ll become only the sixth player to complete the career grand slam and the oldest-ever winner of the US Open, at the age of 50
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Hang on, Mickelson’s playing? I didn’t think he’d qualified.
Phil would have had to qualify had exemptions not been changed to include the top 70 in the World Golf Rankings, as of March 15, because of the global Covid-19 pandemic. Mickelson was No.61 at the time.
So, it’s not really a US Open, this year, if it wasn’t open to all…
Strictly speaking, no. The chance to playing your way into the field for Winged Foot through local and sectional qualifying had to be cancelled after Covid hit.
The field has been reduced from the usual 156 players to 144 and, instead of qualifying, USGA officials produced a list of exemptions in a bid to replicate the usually diverse nature of a US Open field.
“The exemption categories for this year’s championship at Winged Foot Golf Club were carefully developed to mirror a representative US Open field and we are excited that players will still have an opportunity to earn a place in the field through a variety of categories,” said John Bodenhamer, the USGA’s senior managing director for championships.
Which golfers are in the US Open 2020 field and how did they qualify?
Firstly, we have the US Open champions of the last 10 years – Gary Woodland, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Martin Kaymer, Justin Rose, Webb Simpson, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell. As previously mentioned, two-champion Brooks Koepka has withdrawn.
Then we have the 10 lowest scorers from 2019 US Open in Xander Schauffele, Jon Rahm, Chez Reavie, Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Henrik Stenson, Chesson Hadley
Team USA Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker joins them thanks to his win at the US Senior Open Championship, with 2019 US Amateur Championship winner, Andy Ogletree, runner-up, John Augenstein, and 2019 US Mid-Amateur champ Lukas Michel also in.
Tiger Woods, Patrick Reed, Sergio Garcia, Danny Willett take their place in the field thanks to their Masters’ wins since 2016, with the PGA Championship winners, Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas, Jimmy Walker, Jason Day, and Open champions Shane Lowry and Zach Johnson all playing (Francesco Molinari was exempt but has withdrawn).
Paul Casey, Tony Finau, Kevin Kisner, Hideki Matsuyama, Bryson DeChambeau, Jason Kokrak, Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Kuchar, Sungjae Im, Rickie Fowler, Abraham Ancer, Patrick Cantlay, Marc Leishman, Brandt Snedeker, Corey Conners, Charles Howell III and Lucas Glover are all in by way of the 2019 Tour Championship.
James Sugrue qualifies after winning the 2019 British Amateur Championship, with Cole Hammer as winner of the 2019 Mark H. McCormick Medal (Men’s World Amateur Golf Ranking).
Then we have players who were within the Official World Golf Ranking’s Top 70 as of March 15 – Tyrell Hatton, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Bernd Wiesberger, Kevin Na, Lee Westwood, Billy Horschel, Cameron Smith, Jazz Janewattananond, Victor Perez, Shugo Imahira, Erik van Rooyen, Matt Wallace, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Christian Bezuidenhout, Sunghoon Kang, Bubba Watson, Brendon Todd, Adam Hadwin, Viktor Hovland, Ian Poulter, Tom Lewis, Shaun Norris, Phil Mickelson, Andrew Putnam, Keegan Bradley, Lucas Herbert, Eddie Pepperell, Robert MacIntyre, Kurt Kitayama, Chan Kim and Joel Dahmen.
Ryan Palmer, Mackenzie Hughes, Michael Thompson, Adam Long, Daniel Berger, Richy Werenski, Troy Merritt, Jim Herman and Si Woo Kim all get in thanks to their finishes on the PGA Tour between The Memorial in July and The Wyndham Championship in August, with Matthew Wolff and Cameron Champ qualifying thanks to their Top-10 finishes at the PGA Championship.
Thomas Detry, Andy Sullivan, Rasmus Hojgaard (below), Romain Langasque, Renato Paratore, Sami Valimaki, Connor Syme, Adrain Otaegui and Justin Harding all head to Winged Foot thanks to the points they earned in the first five events of the European Tour’s UK Swing.
Will Zalatoris, Davis Riley, Lee Hodges, Taylor Pendrith, Paul Barjon, Brandon Wu, Stephan Jaeger, Curtis Luck, Greyson Sigg and Dan McCarthy all qualify from the Korn Ferry Tour, with Ryo Ishikawa and Jung-Gon Hwang in via the 2019 Japan Golf Tour final Order of Merit. Hwang has since withdrawn due to a military service obligation.
J.C. Ritchie is in via the 2019 Sunshine Tour final Order of Merit, Scott Hend qualifies as top finisher from 2019 Asian Tour final Order of Merit and Ryan Fox is in as top finisher from 2019 Australiasia Tour final Order of Merit.
Ryan Vermeer, Marty Jertson, Danny Balin will play as the top-three in the 2019 PGA Professional of the Year standings, with Takumi Kanaya, Ricky Castillo, Chun An Yu, Davis Thompson, Eduard Rousaud, Sandy Scott and John Pak in as the top seven from the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
Finally, Kevin Streelman, Harris English, J.T. Poston, Joaquin Niemann, Thomas Pieters, Max Homa, Lanto Griffin, Mike Lorenzo-Vera, Matthias Schwab, Alex Noren and Matt Jones get the nod as the top players on the World Rankings who were not otherwise qualified, with Sebastian Munoz, Brian Harman, Tyler Duncan, Mark Hubbard and Danny Lee getting their shot at Major glory as the top players on the final FedEx Cup 2020 points list who had not otherwise qualified.
Yes, the pairings and tee times for the opening two rounds were revealed on Tuesday. Players who start on the 1st tee in the opening round will start on the 10th tee in the second round.
We're particularly looking forward to seeing Tiger Woods go out with Collin Morikawa and Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy play alongside Adam Scott and Justin Rose, and Dustin Johnson playing with Bryson DeChambeau and Tony Finau.
Round 1: 11.50am/Round 2: 5.10pm
1st tee/10th tee: Brandon Wu, Curtis Luck, Ryan Fox.
10th tee/1st tee: Daniel Balin, Greyson Sigg, J C Ritchie.
1st tee/10th tee: Joel Dahmen, Ramus Hojgaard, J T Poston.
10th tee/1st tee: Ricky Castillo (a), Brian Harman, Andy Sullivan.
1st tee/10th tee: Chez Reavie, Sung Kang, Kevin Streelman.
10th tee/1st tee: Tom Lewis, Preston Summerhays (a), Jason Kokrak.
1st tee/10th tee: Jazz Janewattananond, Kevin Na, Matt Wallace.
10th tee/1st tee: Martin Kaymer, Jimmy Walker, John Augenstein (a).
1st tee/10th tee: Brendon Todd, Harris English, Davis Thompson (a).
10th tee/1st tee: Tyler Duncan Thomas Detry, Erik Van Rooyen.
1st tee/10th tee: Paul Waring, Victor Perez, Christiaan Bezuidenhout.
10th tee/1st tee: Tyrrell Hatton, Henrik Stenson, Danny Willett.
1st tee/10th tee: Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth.
10th tee/1st tee: Webb Simpson, Sergio Garcia, Jason Day.
1st tee/10th tee: Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas, Tiger Woods.
10th tee/1st tee: Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Justin Rose.
1st tee/10th tee: Matt Kuchar, Lucas Glover, Graeme McDowell.
10th tee/1st tee: Ian Poulter, Patrick Cantlay, Steve Stricker.
1st tee/10th tee: Charles Howell III, Ryo Ishikawa, Max Homa.
10th tee/1st tee: Adam Hadwin, Mackenzie Hughes, Correy Conners
1st tee/10th tee: Kurt Kitayama, Robert MacIntyre, Sandy Scott (a).
10th tee/1st tee: Sebastien Munoz, Chun An Yu (a), Justin Harding.
1st tee/10th tee: Eddie Pepperell, troy Merritt, Sami Valimaki.
10th tee/1st tee: Scott Hend, Dan McCarthy, Ryan Vermeer.
1st tee/10th tee: Shaun Norris, Rory Sabbatini, Chan Kim.
10th tee/1st tee: Richy Werenski, Taylor Pendrith, Renato Paratore.
1st tee/10th tee: Adam Long, Eduard Rousaud (a), Mike Lorenzo Vera.
10th tee/1st tee: Jim Herman, John Pak (a), Thomas Pieters.
1st tee/10th tee: Luka Michel, Lucas Herbert, Matt Jones.
10th tee/1st tee: Michael Thompson, Andrew Putnam, Chesson Hadley.
1st tee/10th tee: Ryan Palmer, Si Woo Kim, Rafa Cabrera Bello.
10th tee/1st tee: Bernd Wiesberger, Marc Leishman, Cameron Smith.
1st tee/10th tee: Jaquin Niemann, Sungjae Im, Cameron Champ.
10th tee/1st tee: Lee Westwood, James Sugrue, Bubba Watson.
1st tee/10th tee: Gary Woodland, Andy Ogletree (a), Shane Lowry.
10th tee/1st tee: Matt Fitzpatrick, Daniel Berger, Branden Grace.
1st tee/10th tee: Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Tony Finau.
10th tee/1st tee: Tommy Fleetwood, Kevin Kisner, Abraham Ancer.
1st tee/10th tee: Phil Mickelson, Paul Casey, Jon Rahm.
10th tee/1st tee: Louis Oosthuizen, Zach Johnson, Keegan Bradley.
1st tee/10th tee: Rickie Fowler, Matthew Wolff, Viktor Hovland.
10th tee/1st tee: Billy Horschel, Xander Schauffele, Brandt Snedeker.
1st tee/10th tee: Romain Langasque, Davis Riley, Will Zalatoris.
10th tee/1st tee: Shugo Imahira, Byeong Hun An, Takumi Kanaya (a).
1st tee/10th tee: Matthias Schwab, Cole hammer (a), Alex Noren.
10th tee/1st tee: Danny Lee, Mark Hubbard, Lanto Griffin.
1st tee/10th tee: Connor Syme, Paul Barjon, Marty Jertson.
10th tee/1st tee: Stephan Jaegar, Lee Hodges, Adrian Otaegui.
Who do the bookies expect to win the 2020 US Open at Winged Foot?
Unsurprisingly, given his recent form, World No.1, FedExCup champion and PGA Tour Player of the Year Dustin Johnson is the favourite to win and lift his second US Open. DJ won at Oakmont, another of the US Open’s most testing venues, in 2016 and will be keen to add to his only Major victory to date.
Johnson is 8/1 with most bookmakers (correct as of 9/9/20), with World No.2 Jon Rahm available at 10/1. Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy are 14/1 shots, with Xander Schauffele at 16s to win his first Major title. Collin Morikawa is 18/1 to win back-to-back Majors, with the same odds on Bryson DeChambeau lifting his maiden Major.
Tommy Fleetwood is England’s best hope in the bookies’ eyes (30/1), with Justin Rose alongside Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed at 40/1.
Tyrrell Hatton is 50/1 to add a Major to his win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, defending champion Gary Woodland is 60/1 to defend his crown, while Phil Mickelson is an 80/1 shot to complete the Career Grand Slam.
Rasmus Hojgaard, who has enjoyed a tremendous run on the European Tour, is 150/1.
If it ends in a tie, is the US Open still decided by an 18-hole play-off on the Monday?
No. In the event of a tie after 72 holes, a two-hole aggregate playoff will take place following the completion of the final round. The USGA ditched the 18-hole format in favour of the two-hole method back in 2018, although it was the last of the men’s Majors to switch to the shorter play-off. The last 18-hole play-off was the unforgettable clash between Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate in 2008... Woods eventually prevailing on the first sudden-death play-off hole (the 91st in total).
How much prize money is on offer at Winged Foot?
The total purse for this year's U.S. Open is $12.5 million, which is the highest purse of any Major golf tournament.
The winner takes homes $2.25 million, while players who missed the cut will still earn $10,000 each.
Where can I watch the 2020 US Open and what is the time difference?
You can watch it on Sky Sports. Mamaroneck, New York, is five hours behind GMT, so, unlike the recent PGA Championship, you can expect the weekend leaders to be heading out by early evening, meaning you shouldn't be too shattered for work on Monday.
Live coverage begins at 12.30pm (UK time) on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Golf on Thursday and Friday. Saturday’s coverage gets underway on Sky Sport Golf at 2pm, with Main Event beginning at 8.30pm. And Sunday’s final round action is on Sky Sports Golf from 1pm.
There will be highlight packages across the channels over the four days, and you can listen to the tournament on BBC Radio 5live.