The US Open tees off this week, featuring a fearsome field of former champs

David Lord Columnist

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    Dustin Johnson was one of the favourites again ahead of the US Open. (Photo: AP)

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    The biggest sporting event of the week will be the 117th US Open at Erin Hills, where the world number one golfer, Dustin Johnson, will be defending his title.

    There will be ten former champions in the field: Jordan Spieth (2015), Martin Kaymer (2014), Justin Rose (2013), Webb Simpson (2012), Rory McIlroy (2011), Graeme McDowell (2010), Lucas Glover (2009), Geoff Ogilvy (2006), Jim Furyk (2003), and Ernie Els (1997 and 1994).

    Phil Mickelson, the word’s greatest leftie, with six seconds at the US Open – the only major he hasn’t won – is a doubtful starter. His daughter, Amanda, is the head student at Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad, California, and the first round will be her graduation day.

    “And I’m gonna be there as a very proud parent,” Mickelson said.

    Amanda will be speaking at high noon Wisconsin time, and Dad is drawn to tee off at 2:20pm.

    With the flight time three hours from Carlsbad to Wisconsin, there would have to be a long weather delay for ‘Leftie’ to make it. And the Thursday forecast is for fine weather at Erin Hills, the first US Open played in Wisconsin, where there are 700,000 golfers among the 5.7 million residents.

    It’s a par 72 course of 7741 yards, making it the longest in US Open history. The fairways are wide, but the field has been warned to stay out of the bunkers – all 138 of them.

    Erin Hills has a fascinating final six holes, with two par fives, at 14 and 18, two par fours, at 15 and 17, and two par threes, at 13 and 16.

    Jason Day and Adam Scott will be the two leading Australian contenders.

    Day has been drawn with Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy – arguably the best grouping over the first two days. But Scott’s group isn’t too shabby either, with Bubba Watson and Sergio Garcia.

    Nor is the Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, and Martin Kaymer group anything to sneeze at either.

    Other groups very worthy of mention:

    Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler, and Jon Rahm.
    Henrik Stenson, Charl Schwartzel, and Louis Oosthuizen.
    Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, and Brooks Koepka.

    The other Australians in the field are Marc Leishman, Aaron Baddeley, Steve Bowditch, Greg Chalmers, Ogilvy, John Senden, Cameron Percy, and Cameron Smith.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn’t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world’s great sporting spectacles

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