Golf fans can look forward to an interesting, new dynamic when the US Open gets underway in 2022.
The championship will be played at the The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, for the first time in over 30 years.
It was last played at this course in 1988, when Curtis Strange ultimately got the better of Nick Faldo to clinch the title.
Managing director of Rules and Open Championships Jeff Hall is eager to see the US Open grow in service to fans, delivery to players – and legacy – in Massachusetts. Hall reckons the 11th hole could bring particular interest for defending champion John Rahm and others. The hole is just under 120 metres, but pretty challenging with four bunkers and a brook.
“Let’s face it, it’s a wedge for these guys, and yet there will be some players walking to the 12th tee having just marked a ‘4’ on their card and wondering what happened,” said Hall.
“I’ve got nothing against a big par 3, but they don’t have to be 225- or 230-yard brutes to require execution at the highest level.”
Back in 1988, that hole got the better of some of the best golfers on display. In 2022, the hole and rest of the course have changed, but could still really tax even the most in-form players at the time. Some of the changes that have happened have seen two holes with new positions in the routing and two others swap par.
“The changes add a degree of difficulty over what we had in 1988. On number 14, if you miss the fairway from the tee, you may be forced to lay up, which leaves you with a blind, uphill third shot of 140 to 155 metres,” added Hall.
“Architect Gil Hanse has done some work that allows us to keep the long holes long, and the shorter holes will still be demanding. Like any US Open, you’ve got to have control of your ball. It’s going to be fascinating to watch.”
Rahm, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth will likely be among the favourites in the ouright US Open results when it commences in June 022. South Africa should be represented by, at least, Branden Grace and Christiaan Bezuidenhout.
“He putts it really good. He played really well at the end of the year, winning those last two events in South Africa. It really pushed him up in the world ranking. He’s a great player. Keep an eye on him,” said Grace of Bezuidenhout earlier this year.
The last South African to win the US Open was Retief Goosen. That was in 2004. He also won it in 2001. Before him, there was countryman Ernie Els, who took the title in 1997 and 1994. The only other South African to win the US Open was Gary Player – way back in 1965.
Come 2023 and 2024, the US Open will be played at the Los Angeles Country Club and Pinehurst in North Carolina, respectively. Thereafter, Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania takes over for 2025 and Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, New York, for 2026.