Brookline. One word like few others can prompt frightening flashbacks for any fan of European golf over the age of about 30.
The Ryder Cup of 1999 will always be remembered for the sight of wives and girlfriends of US players celebrating on the 17th green after Justin Leonard had holed a monster putt. The celebrations, high heels stomping on the green, were premature as Jose Maria Olazabal still had a putt to keep European hopes alive. The Spaniard missed, allowing celebrations to continue, but It was an unedifying sight.
There was nastiness to the Ryder Cup at that time; Brookline was the nadir. Modern Ryder Cups are still fiercely competitive - spectators from both sides occasionally step over the line - but they are played in a positive spirit.
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Brookline this week will see zero thoughts of team play, it will be every man for himself for the right to lift the 122nd US Open.
There might a sense of them and us, after civil war broke out in golf following the PGA Tour’s decision to suspend those who participated in last week’s inaugural LIV Golf event.
What happens next in that battle is up for debate - lawyers will likely get rich, that much is evident - but there will be plenty of eyes on ‘rebels’ Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson.
It would be some story were Mickelson to complete golf’s Grand Slam after all the controversy in recent months. It would be some story, given the way he chopped the ball around the Centurion Club last week.
Rory McIlroy has been one of the most outspoken critics of LIV Golf and as one of the PGA Tour’s star attractions, and commissioner Jay Monahan would like nothing more than for McIlroy to lift the trophy on Sunday.
He’s certainly in the form to do so, as he produced a masterclass to fend off Tony Finau and Juston Thomas to win the Canadian Open last week. With his wedges dialled in, if he can avoid the lapses that have plagued him in majors of late, McIlroy looks well placed to win a title he last secured in 2011. The hair’s a bit different 11 years on, but the golf is just as good.

orthern Ireland's Rory McIlroy celebrates his win on the 18th green during the final round of the 2011 U.S. Open golf tournament at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, June 19, 2011

Image credit: Reuters

World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler went a little cold after winning the Masters, which was totally understandable, but a closing round of 66 in Canada on Sunday suggested the outstanding form is not far from the surface.
As defending champion, Jon Rahm will have his supporters. He will arrive at Brookline extremely fresh, as he has not played since the Memorial Tournament a month ago. A tied-10th finish did not do justice to Rahm’s play, and if the putter gets hot he has a big chance of going back-to-back.
The biggest name of all will not be teeing it up, as Tiger Woods pulled out citing fitness issues. He looked extremely sore at the US PGA Championship, and his aim is to be competitive in the Open at St Andrews.
One player who has a lot in his favour is Matthew Fitzpatrick. The 27-year-old is still seeking his first professional win in America, but Brookline suits his game perfectly. He’s not a bomber off the tee, but finding fairways and greens in regulation is his modus operandi and he was a winner at the course in the 2013.

COURSE: The Country Club, Brookline

The Country Club is one of the most storied tracks in golf and has hosted the US Open on three previous occasions.
There have been changes since Curtis Strange tasted victory in 1988, with the course lengthened and different holes added in a composite layout.
Length, length, length are at the forefront of golf as technological changes allow players to hit the ball further. But there is always a place for something short and sweet. The 11th - named Redan - is a par 3 of 131 yards. No more than a wedge, but it is a raised green sloping from front to back, guarded by bunkers and a brook. Appearances can be deceptive and as well as offering birdie chances, it could see big numbers run up.
There will be changes of routing from 1988, and only Pebble Beach has played shorter than The Country Club's 7264 yards, but the layout and how it will be set up will protect it from being picked apart by the bombers of the game.

Players walk down the fairway prior to the US Open at The Country Club on June 14, 2022 in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Image credit: Getty Images

What the likes of McIlroy, Rahm and Scheffler will find is a penal layout. The USGA will do everything in its power to ensure the players are met with the toughest test in golf.
There have been criticism of recent layouts at the likes of Chambers Bay, but that will not be levelled at one of the most revered courses in golf.
Hit it off line and players will be punished. Arguably that is how golf should be played - meaning the hit-it-as-far-as-you-can-and-find-it brigade are unlikely to flourish.
  • Prize Money: Total fund of $12.5 million, with winner’s share being $2,250,000
  • Format: 72-hole strokeplay. Two-hole aggregate if playoff is required.
  • TV Coverage: The US Open is live on Sky Sports in the UK

Key Quotes

Rory McIlroy: "Regardless of whether I won (the Canadian Open), I would feel good about my game. I think producing the shots I needed to produce over the last couple of holes, under pressure, lost the lead, to get it back again, I think the resilience that showed and where I am at with my game and confidence level. I am proud of that and looking forward.”
Scottie Scheffler: "I like the challenge, these events are really hard and for me it's fun challenging yourself like that. This style of golf suits how I play and how I approach tournaments."
Jon Rahm: "I want to play against the best in the world in a format that's been going on for hundreds of years. That's what I want to see. Yeah, money is great, but when Kelley and I - this first thing happened, we started talking about it, and we're like, will our lifestyle change if I got $400 million? No, it will not change one bit. Truth be told, I could retire right now with what I've made and live a very happy life and not play golf again. So I've never really played the game of golf for monetary reasons. I play for the love of the game, and I want to play against the best in the world."

Tee Times

Thursday (June 16), Hole #1 / Friday (June 17), Hole #10
  • 6:45 a.m./12:30 p.m. – (a) Michael Thorbjornsen Erik Barnes, Matt McCarty
  • 6:56 a.m./12:41 p.m. – Matthew NeSmith, Patrick Rodgers,Travis Vick
  • 7:07 a.m./12:52 p.m. – Troy Merritt, Eagle, William Mouw, Andrew Putnam
  • 7:18 a.m./1:03 p.m. – Collin Morikawa, James Piot, Jon Rahm
  • 7:29 a.m./1:14 p.m. – Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott, Max Homa
  • 7:40 a.m./1:25 p.m. – Billy Horschel, Patrick Cantlay, Daniel Berger
  • 7:51 a.m./1:36 p.m. – Harold Varner III, Sebastian Munoz, Alex Noren
  • 8:02 a.m./1:47 p.m. – Joaquin Niemann, Cameron Young, Will Zalatoris
  • 8:13 a.m./1:58 p.m. – Adam Schenk, Stewart Hagestad, Grayson Murray
  • 8:24 a.m./2:09 p.m. – Guido Migliozzi, Branden Grace, Mackenzie Hughes
  • 8:35 a.m./2:20 p.m. – Beau Hossler, Kalle Samooja, Satoshi Kodaira
  • 8:46 a.m./2:31 p.m. – Richard Mansell, Tomoyasu Sugiyama, Roger Sloan
  • 8:57 a.m./2:42 p.m. – Caleb Manuel, ; Keith Greene, Ben Silverman
Thursday (June 16), Hole #10 / Friday (June 17), Hole #1
  • 6:45 a.m./12:30 p.m. – Fran Quinn, Callum Tarren, Hayden Buckley
  • 6:56 a.m./12:41 p.m. – Kurt Kitayama, Denny McCarthy, Sam Bennett
  • 7:07 a.m./12:52 p.m. – Wyndham Clark, Brandon Matthews, Wil Besseling
  • 7:18 a.m./1:03 p.m. – David Lingmerth, Sepp Straka, Si Woo Kim
  • 7:29 a.m./1:14 p.m. – Scott Stallings, Davis Riley, Victor Perez
  • 7:40 a.m./1:25 p.m. – Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama, Xander Schauffele
  • 7:51 a.m./1:36 p.m. – Kevin Kisner, Aiken, Russell Henley, Brian Harman
  • 8:02 a.m./1:47 p.m. – Keegan Bradley, .Marc Leishman, Aaron Wise
  • 8:13 a.m./1:58 p.m. – Francesco Molinari, Laird Shepherd, Stewart Cink
  • 8:24 a.m./2:09 p.m. – Marcel Schneider, Chan Kim, Joseph Bramlett
  • 8:35 a.m./2:20 p.m. – Lanto Griffin, Blacksburg, Joel Dahmen, Jinichiro Kozuma
  • 8:46 a.m./2:31 p.m. – Chris Gotterup, Fred Biondi, Harry Hall
  • 8:57 a.m./2:42 p.m. – Chris Naegel, Andrew Beckler, Luke Gannon
Thursday (June 16), Hole #1 / Friday (June 17), Hole #10
  • 12:30 p.m./6:45 a.m. – Kevin Chappell, Chase Seiffert, Andrew Novak
  • 12:41 p.m./6:56 a.m. – Thorbjorn Olesen, Brian Stuard, Nick Hardy
  • 12:52 p.m./7:07 a.m. – Sam Horsfield, Cameron Tringale, Shaun Norris
  • 1:03 p.m./7:18 a.m. – Sungjae Im, Mito Pereira, Erik van Rooyen
  • 1:14 p.m./7:29 a.m. – Justin Thomas, Viktor Hovland, Tony Finau
  • 1:25 p.m./7:40 a.m. – Joohyung Kim, Seamus Power, Min Woo Lee
  • 1:36 p.m./7:51 a.m. – Matt Fitzpatrick, Webb Simpson, Dustin Johnson
  • 1:47 p.m./8:02 a.m. – Phil Mickelson, Shane Lowry, Louis Oosthuizen
  • 1:58 p.m./8:13 a.m. – Danny Lee, Keita Nakajima, Nick Taylor
  • 2:09 p.m./8:24 a.m. – Jim Furyk, Nick Dunlap, Adam Hadwin
  • 2:20 p.m./8:35 a.m. – Richard Bland, Rikuya Hoshino, Ryan Fox
  • 2:31 p.m./8:46 a.m. – Jonas Blixt, Bo Hoag, Todd Sinnott
  • 2:42 p.m./8:57 a.m. – Isaiah Salinda, Sean Jacklin, Charles Reiter
Thursday (June 16), Hole #10 / Friday (June 17), Hole #1
  • 12:30 p.m./6:45 a.m. – Jed Morgan, Taylor Montgomery, Sean Crocker
  • 12:41 p.m./6:56 a.m. – Maxwell Moldovan, Yannik Paul, M.J. Daffue
  • 12:52 p.m./7:07 a.m. – Talor Gooch, Adri Arnaus, Tom Hoge
  • 1:03 p.m./7:18 a.m. – Kevin Na, Sergio Garcia, Tyrrell Hatton
  • 1:14 p.m./7:29 a.m. – Sam Burns, Abraham Ancer, Thomas Pieters
  • 1:25 p.m./7:40 a.m. – Brooks Koepka, Cameron Smith, Scottie Scheffler
  • 1:36 p.m./7:51 a.m. – Luke List, Austin Greaser, Corey Conners
  • 1:47 p.m./8:02 a.m. – Gary Woodland, Justin Rose, Bryson DeChambeau
  • 1:58 p.m./8:13 a.m. – K.H. Lee, Tommy Fleetwood, Patrick Reed
  • 2:09 p.m./8:24 a.m. – Jason Kokrak, Harris English, Lucas Herbert
  • 2:20 p.m./8:35 a.m. – Sam Stevens, Ben Lorenz, Davis Shore
  • 2:31 p.m./8:46 a.m. – Daijiro Izumida, Adrien Dumont de Chassart, Sebastian Söderberg
  • 2:42 p.m./8:57 a.m. – Ryan Gerard, Brady Calkins, Jesse Mueller
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