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The 2023 US Open is set to take place this coming weekend and there are plenty of fascinating subplots taking shape as we approach the third major of the year. This year’s edition of the tournament is the 123rd US Open and it’s a special one with LA Country Club hosting the event for the very first time.
The course is steeped in mystery despite its famous location with the Country Club last hosting a PGA Tour event way back in the 1940s. Given its mystique, it’s difficult to know who is going to perform well and who isn’t but one thing is for sure – it’s going to be tough.
The US Open prides itself on being the toughest golf tournament on the calendar and this year will be no different with slick green, deceptive slopes, deep rough and tough pin positions expected. Whoever comes out on top on Sunday will have earned their prize just as Matt Fitzpatrick did last year when he won the 122nd US Open in Massachusetts.
The Englishman will be in LA to defend his title this week alongside 155 other professionals who are all seeking to take the famous trophy away from him. Let’s find out more about who is playing and who isn’t.
US Open 2023 field – the big names
There are a plethora of big stars taking place this week as major season moves past the halfway point. Some of the biggest names to be teeing it up in LA include:
It’s been nine years since Rory McIlroy won a major tournament and his hopes of stopping it from getting to ten are diminishing. At the Masters in April, the Northern Irishman put in a hugely disappointing finish and missed the cut while at the PGA Championship at Oak Hill last month, he finished in a tie for 7th. McIlroy has spoken positively about the course at LA Country Club and looks raring to go once again.
Had a blast at the @RBCCanadianOpen, despite Rory’s disappointing finish. That marks his third top-10 finish in a row. The game is finally rounding into form ahead of a busy summer schedule. Big week ahead at LACC for the US Open — LFG 🇺🇸👀📈 pic.twitter.com/vazcwUQ21F
— Rory McIlroy Tracker (@RMTracker) June 12, 2023
Scottie Scheffler is unquestionably the most consistent performer in golf hence why he is ranked second in the world rankings. He hasn’t finished lower than 12th in a tournament since last October and has two wins to his name this season with the highlight coming at the Players Championship in March. Scheffler has been there or thereabouts at the first two majors of the year and he will surely be a force to be reckoned with once again this week.
Jon Rahm was on fire at the start of the season and won four tournaments in the opening four months of 2023. His victory at the Masters almost seemed inevitable and it made him the world number one once again. Since victory at Augusta, Rahm has perhaps taken his foot off the gas slightly which was evident at the PGA Championship in May. After a couple of weeks off, the Spaniard should be refreshed and ready for another assault on a major championship.
If there was ever a player you could bank on to perform at a major golf championship then that man is Brooks Koepka. His record at golf’s premium events is stellar and his victory at the PGA Championship last month moved him on to a total of five for his career. Koepka is very open about the fact he doesn’t really care about other tournaments but when he tees it up on the first hole on Thursday you can guarantee he will be locked in and focused on walking away with number six.
With six majors to his name, Phil Mickelson is the most decorated golfer in the field this week and more attention than ever will be on the 52-year-old after the recent merger between the PGA Tour and the LIV Tour which Mickelson plays on. Another interesting subplot for Mickelson heading into this week is the fact that the US Open is the only major tournament he is yet to win. Although his best years are behind him, you would be foolish to rule out one more fairytale involving the lefty.
US Open 2023 field – the amateurs
As per tradition at the US Open, places have been left open for amateur qualification. This year, there are 18 amateurs set to take part at LA Country Club and there are a few that are worth keeping an eye on – not just this week but in the years to come, too. They are:
Brenna is the reigning ACC individual champion and is regarded as the favourite to finish as the lowest amateur in the tournament. In qualifying, he made an outrageous up-and-down that is sure to make him feel good going into the tournament.
Michael Brennan just made the up and down of his lifetime to get into the U.S Open.
How insane is this??? pic.twitter.com/MtP6iJBcXy
— Monday Q Info (@acaseofthegolf1) June 5, 2023
This is the second consecutive year that Thorbjornsen has qualified for the US Open as an amateur which indicates that he is one of the most consistent amateurs around. He is used to playing on hard golf courses and usually fairs pretty well. It wouldn’t be a huge shock if he made the cut this week.
This is the second major that Carr has played in this year after he took part at the Masters in April. He did okay around Augusta and was just two shots away from making the cut. He is another consistent performer who has seven top-11s to his name in the past year with Georgia Southern.
US Open 2023 field – who has missed out
The most notable absentee from the 156-man field is Tiger Woods. Woods is the second-most decorated golfer of all time with 15 major titles to his name and his presence is always missed at the big events. Unfortunately, the 47-year-old is still recovering from the surgery he underwent after withdrawing from the Masters and isn’t expected to return to the golf course any time soon.
There are some other big names who won’t be playing in LA this week, including the likes of Bubba Watson, Ian Poulter, and Lee Westwood. All three men are part of the LIV Tour and declined to take part in qualifying for personal reasons. Despite that, there are still 15 LIV Golfers who are taking part this week which should make for an interesting watch given recent developments.
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