U.S. Open Featured Groups
The U.S. Open may visit a new venue this year, but the year’s second major should still be one of the season’s toughest tests. Here’s a look at some of the groups to watch next week at Erin Hills: Hideki Matsuyama (3), Rickie Fowler (8), Jon Rahm (4): Three of the world’s best players, all of whom are seeking their first major, are in this group. Matsuyama, 25, has two wins this season. Fowler, the 2015 PLAYERS champion, was runner-up at the 2014 U.S. Open. Fowler, 28, won this year’s The Honda Classic and recently was runner-up at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide. Rahm, 22, has a TOUR-high seven top-10s in 15 starts, including his win at the Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm’s meteoric rise to the upper echelons of the game has come rapidly, as evidenced by the fact that he was low amateur at last year’s U.S. Open (T21). Tee time: 7:51 a.m. on Thursday off No. 10; 1:36 p.m. on Friday off No. 1. Kevin Kisner (6), Billy Horschel (18), Branden Grace (87): This group features the winners from the PGA TOUR’s recent Texas swing and a player who’s played well at the past two U.S. Opens. Kisner won the DEAN & DELUCA Invitational, while Horschel recently claimed the AT&T Byron Nelson. Grace finished fifth at last year’s U.S. Open and T4 in 2015. These players could face each other at the Presidents Cup later this year, as well. Kisner is fourth in the U.S. standings, while Horschel is 20th. Grace ranks sixth in the International Team standings. He went 5-0-0 at the 2015 Presidents Cup. Tee time: 8:24 a.m. on Thursday off No. 1; 2:09 p.m. on Friday off No. 10. Martin Kaymer (NR), Jordan Spieth (5), Dustin Johnson (1): The past three U.S. Open winners are in this group. Johnson, the defending champion, leads the FedExCup standings after winning three consecutive events earlier this year. Spieth, who won the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay en route to claiming the FedExCup, won this year’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Kaymer won the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 weeks after winning THE PLAYERS Championship. Tee time: 8:35 a.m. on Thursday off No. 10; 2:20 p.m. on Friday off No. 1. Marc Leishman (14), Pat Perez (7), Si Woo Kim (23): This group features three players who have won on the PGA TOUR this season. Kim, 21, became the youngest player to win THE PLAYERS when he was victorious last month at THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. Perez is seventh in the FedExCup standings thanks to five top-10s this season, including a victory at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba. Leishman won the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. Tee time: 1:14 p.m. on Thursday off No. 1; 7:29 a.m. on Friday off No. 10. Brad Dalke (a) (NR), Wesley Bryan (20), Brendan Steele (11): Dalke, the 2016 U.S. Amateur runner-up, gets to tee it up with two PGA TOUR winners in his U.S. Open debut. Bryan, the 2016 Web.com Tour Player of the Year, won this year’s RBC Heritage. Steele is in FedExCup contention thanks to a win at the Safeway Open and three other top-10s. Dalke recently helped the University of Oklahoma win the NCAA Championship. Tee time: 1:14 p.m. on Thursday off No. 10; 7:29 a.m. on Friday off No. 1. Bubba Watson (106), Adam Scott (66), Sergio Garcia (12): Sergio Garcia joined an exclusive club when he won the Masters in April. Now he gets to play in a group alongside his fellow owners of a Green Jacket. Perhaps they can give him suggestions for the Champions Dinner. Scott won the 2013 Masters, while Watson won at Augusta National in 2012 and 2014. Garcia has five top-10s in the U.S. Open, including a T5 last year. Scott has four top-20s in his past five U.S. Open appearances. Tee time: 1:36 p.m. on Thursday off No. 1; 7:51 a.m. on Friday off No. 10. Jason Day (42), Justin Rose (15), Rory McIlroy (64): Defending FedExCup champion Rory McIlroy, who will be making his first PGA TOUR start since THE PLAYERS because of a rib injury, leads this threesome of major champions. Day won his first major at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, about an hour north of Erin Hills. He has five top-10s in six U.S. Open appearances, including two runners-up (2011, 2013). Rose won the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion by two shots over Day and Phil Mickelson. Rose, the 2016 Olympic gold medalist, was runner-up to Sergio Garcia at this year’s Masters. Tee time: 2:09 p.m. on Thursday off No. 1; 8:24 a.m. on Friday off No. 10. Steve Stricker (120), Stewart Cink (60), Phil Mickelson (43): Steve Stricker, the local favorite, will tee up alongside two other players in their 40s. Stricker, this year’s U.S. Presidents Cup captain, is from Edgerton, Wisconsin, about an hour from Erin Hills. It is yet to be determined if Mickelson, who has a record six runners-up at the U.S. Open, will compete at Erin Hills. He said he would withdraw from the event if it conflicts with his daughter’s high school graduation. Stewart Cink, the 2009 Open Championship winner, qualified for this year’s U.S. Open, his first since 2014. Cink has eight top-25 finishes this season. Tee time: 2:20 p.m. on Thursday off No. 1; 8:35 a.m. on Friday off No. 10.
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