Sergio Garcia rebounded from a Sunday stumble to earn his first major championship by winning the Masters back in April. The world’s 10th-ranked golfer will try to keep that momentum rolling when he and 155 others hit the links for the 117th U.S. Open Thursday.
He’ll need to stand out from a stacked crowd to earn one of the sport’s most prestigious titles. All nine golfers ranked above Garcia will be part of Thursday’s field, including past champions like Dustin Johnson, Martin Kaymer, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, and Rory McIlroy. They’ll work to tame Erin Hills, the newest course on the major circuit and the host for Wisconsin’s first-ever PGA Tour major.
Erin Hills was a pasture just 13 years earlier, but a combination of foresight and dedication turned a patch of dairy land 30 minutes outside Milwaukee into one of the nation’s premier settings. The hybrid American golf/Scottish links course will be one of the longest to ever host the Open, clocking in at 7,693 yards. That includes four par fives that measure at over 600 yards.
That means long drives will be paramount to success, but failure to find the fairway will be disastrous. Narrow strips of rough give way to knee-high grass that makes finding your ball a tough task and hitting back onto playable ground even harder.
The action begins Thursday morning, and the golf gods have smiled upon your work day by offering several streaming opportunities to leave on at the office.
USOpen.com’s featured groups offer 12 of the planet’s best golfers. The 2016 champion, Dustin Johnson, will hit the links as part of a group that features the past three Open champs. He’ll be flanked by former world No. 1 Spieth (currently ranked No. 5) and Kaymer. Forty-five minutes before they tee off, a trio of Masters winners, including reigning champ Garcia, will begin their quest to master Erin Hills’ undulating fairways and glassy greens.
That will be easier said than done. The ever-rising fescue just feet from the fairways will punish inaccuracy on one of the longest courses in event history. The 2’0 grass already has pros like Kevin Na and Wesley Bryan #madonline.
Both Garcia and Johnson will be looking for affirming victories this weekend. Others, like Rickie Fowler and Hideki Matsuyama, will work toward their first major titles and the notoriety that comes with it. Finally, 13 amateurs will try to make the most of a huge opportunity by working their way into the mix in the championship rounds.
Here’s how you can watch opening round coverage, on television and online.
Thursday’s first-round coverage
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET — FOX Sports 1
6 to 9 p.m. — FOX
8:45 a.m. to 8 p.m. — Featured group 1:
Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama
Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott
9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. — Featured group 2:
Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Martin Kaymer
Jason Day, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy
8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. — Featured holes stream
Noon to 6 p.m. — PGA Tour Radio on Sirius-XM (Ch. 93/208)