The U.S. Open Championship first began in 1895 at the Newport Country Club in Newport, Rhode Island, a nine-hole course. The inaugural event was a 36-hole competition played in one day with Horace Rawlins, a 21-year old Englishman, taking first winning purse of $150 out of a $335 prize fund.
Set to play June 10-16 at the legendary Pebble Beach Golf Links in California, this year’s 119th edition of the U. S. Open features a 12-million-dollar purse with the winner taking home $2.16 million.
The leaderboard for Pebble Beach event will be topped by players such as Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy and defending champion Brooks Koepka, who is going for a third consecutive title.
According to the latest computer program that sets all the odds, Tiger Woods should win despite not making the cut at the recent PGA Championship that Koepka led wire to wire and eventually holed the winning putt.
Whoever ends up victorious is in for a tough weekend. You never see red scores in the teens atop the leaderboard at an Open. Many tournaments end up at par or over. The U.S.G.A and the host course work to make it a true test of any golfer’s skill.
The tournament is open to any golf professional or amateur with a USGA Handicap not exceeding 1.4. Players compete in qualifiers to make it into the event. The final field of 156 players is cut almost in half by different exemptions such as former winners (both amateur and professional), winners of the Masters, Open and PGA Championships, Senior Open, Olympic golf gold medalist, and many more. It makes for fierce competition going on nationwide just to make it to the show.
Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Willie Anderson, and Bobby Jones are tied for the record with four victories each. If Koepka wins, he will be in contention next year for a top slot. So who’s going to win? The odds makers say that it’s Tiger’s turn. But if they were always right, it wouldn’t be called gambling.