- Year’s second major championship gets under way at Erin Hills
- Official US Open leaderboard: keep up with all the latest
- Email Gregg.Bakowski@theguardian.com. Tweet @GreggBakowski
Hello readers. It’s the 117th US Open, the second major of the year, and probably the most demanding. In the buildup to the tournament the general chatter has been centred on the difficulty of Erin Hills, a public access course in Wisconsin that is not only incredibly long but features rough so high that finding a child in it could be problematic never mind a golf ball. Here’s Kevin Na with a demonstration. In fact, this fledgling course – which is making its debut as a major venue – is being billed as possibly the toughest in the competition’s history. At almost 8,000 yards, it’s certainly the longest with the par-five 18th measuring up to 675 yards! Yes, you read that right.
So who will that suit? Big-hitters would be the obvious answer. Dustin Johnson, the defending champion, comes into that bracket but having missed the Masters after slipping on some steps and injuring his back – and having recently become a father – his preparation has been far from ideal. Not that he sounds unprepared. “I like really tough golf courses. I tend to focus more and play better. It’s just a very, very difficult tournament to win.” The world No1 won it by three shots in a highly entertaining four days at Oakmont last year. Should he successfully defend his title he would be the first player to win back-to-back US Opens since Curtis Strange 28 years ago.