The U.S. Open golf has no shortage of storylines this year — but only a few of which have to do with who will take home the third major of the 2021-22 PGA Tour.
This week, just as much as any other week, we are ecstatic for the golf to begin. We’re always beyond excited for the start of a major—we only get four of these a year. But LIV Golf has consumed conversations early week at The Country Club. Now it’s Thursday, and it’s time to put those talks aside for now.
Instead, the golfing world will watch with great fascination those golfers — such as Phil Mickelson — who have defected from the PGA Tour and signed with the Live Tour fresh off its inaugural event in London (won by Charl Schwartzel for his first victory since the 2016 Valspar Championship).
The Upstart Golf Tour has been the subject of major controversy in the sport in recent weeks. For example, Rory McIlroy – winner of last week’s RBC Canadian Open – took a shot at LIV head man Greg Norman, expressing his disappointment at Mickelson, one of the biggest names on the tour.
The Country Club in Brookline,Massachusetts will host the 122nd, which starts Thursday and concludes Sunday.
Whether those golfers will even be able to qualify without access to PGA Tour events in the future remains to be seen. (Though some golfers, such as 2016 U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson, have special exemption for future events).
Those storylines will take precedent for much of the early rounds, and potentially longer if any defectors stay in contention late into the tournament. Otherwise, the biggest names to watch this tournament are Jon Rahm, winner of this event last year; Justin Thomas, winner of the PGA Championship; and Scottie Scheffler, who owns the other major victory this year by winning the Masters