US Open: Key talking points ahead of the 118th edition at Shinnecock

Jordan Spieth with the US Open trophy
Jordan Spieth with the US Open trophy

PA Sport look for answers to five of the key questions ahead of the 118th US Open, where Brooks Koepka defends his title.

Brooks Koepka will defend his US Open title at Shinnecock Hills next week as the year's second major championship takes place from June 14-17.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at five talking points ahead of the tournament.

Will the USGA get the course set-up right?

The last time Shinnecock Hills hosted the US Open in 2004, play had to be suspended during the final round - in which 28 of the 66 players amazingly failed to break 80 - to water the seventh green, which had already been described as "ridiculous" and "unplayable" by Ernie Els a day earlier. More recently the 18th hole at Chambers Bay in 2015 was labelled "unbelievably stupid" when played as a par four by Jordan Spieth, while Henrik Stenson compared the parched greens to "putting on broccoli". Last year at Erin Hills, former champion Rory McIlroy was stunned to learn the USGA were cutting down heavy rough on four holes in the middle of his pre-tournament press conference. It is hardly surprising that USGA chief executive Mike Davis admits the organisation is happy to "have a Mulligan this time" at Shinnecock.

Can Koepka become the first back-to-back winner for 29 years?

Curtis Strange was the last player to make a successful title defence, following his play-off victory over Nick Faldo in 1988 with a one-shot win 12 months later. Koepka equalled McIlroy's tournament record with a 16-under-par total and four-shot victory at Erin Hills, and also won by nine shots in the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan in November. A serious wrist injury means the 28-year-old has played just five events in 2018, although he was second in the recent Forth Worth Invitational.

Will Phil Mickelson complete the career grand slam?

Mickelson needs to win the US Open - in which he has been runner-up six times - to become the sixth player to have won all four major titles, but remarkably opted to miss last year's championship to attend the high school graduation of his daughter Amanda, who was born the day after he finished second to Payne Stewart at Pinehurst in 1999. At the time it was easy to suggest the 47-year-old's chances of a first win since 2013 at Erin Hills were pretty slim, but the left-hander returned to the winner's circle this season in the WGC-Mexico Championship and has recorded four other top-six finishes.

Phil Mickelson glances enviously at Geoff Ogilvy with the US Open trophy
Phil Mickelson glances enviously at Geoff Ogilvy with the US Open trophy

Can US dominance of the majors be broken?

Patrick Reed's victory in the Masters means American players currently hold all four major titles, with Koepka defending his US Open crown and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas the reigning Open and US PGA champions respectively. However, European players won the US Open four times in five years from 2010, while Shane Lowry held a four-shot lead after 54 holes in 2016 before finishing second and Tommy Fleetwood was fourth last year.

Is a shock winner possible?

Since Darren Clarke and Keegan Bradley won the last two majors of 2011 when ranked 111th and 108th in the world respectively, the lowest-ranked winner of any major has been Jimmy Walker, who was 48th when he won the 2016 US PGA Championship. The 2017 major winners were ranked 11th, 22nd, third and 14th, while Reed was 24th before his victory in the Masters in April. The days of Ben Curtis (396), Shaun Micheel (169) and YE Yang (110) appear to be over.

Related golf links

Like what you've read?
Help your friends Know It All by sharing this article to your social media.

Most Read

Ben Linfoot has picked out his big-priced fancies for the action1

Value Bet: Monarchs to reign

Ben Linfoot seeks out the value on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot and he has three bets, including in the Champion Stakes where he takes on Cracksman.

Today's Racing Tips2

Saturday's racing preview

Keith Hamer previews Saturday's QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot and has a tip for every race in the UK and Ireland.

Follow all the action from Ascot live with us
3

LIVE: Champions Day blog!

Follow all the build-up to QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot, where Frankie Dettori looks set to play a starring role in the saddle.

Sporting Life's Premier League preview package4

Premier League 3pm previews

Mark your card for Saturday's 3pm kick-offs in the Premier League with the best bets, Super 6 predictions and top stats for each game.

Our pundits have picked out their best bets for QIPCO British Champions Day5

Champions Day: Pundit Picks

Our racing pundits with their Nap selections for QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday.

Most Read

Ben Linfoot has picked out his big-priced fancies for the action1

Value Bet: Monarchs to reign

Ben Linfoot seeks out the value on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot and he has three bets, including in the Champion Stakes where he takes on Cracksman.

Today's Racing Tips2

Saturday's racing preview

Keith Hamer previews Saturday's QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot and has a tip for every race in the UK and Ireland.

Follow all the action from Ascot live with us
3

LIVE: Champions Day blog!

Follow all the build-up to QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot, where Frankie Dettori looks set to play a starring role in the saddle.

Sporting Life's Premier League preview package4

Premier League 3pm previews

Mark your card for Saturday's 3pm kick-offs in the Premier League with the best bets, Super 6 predictions and top stats for each game.

Our pundits have picked out their best bets for QIPCO British Champions Day5

Champions Day: Pundit Picks

Our racing pundits with their Nap selections for QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday.

Racing Tips

Ben Linfoot has picked out his big-priced fancies for the action

Value Bet: Monarchs to reign

Ben Linfoot seeks out the value on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot and he has three bets, including in the Champion Stakes where he takes on Cracksman.

Simon Holt reveals his best bets for the weekend's racing

Simon Holt: Next of Kyn

Top commentator Simon Holt previews QIPCO British Champions Day and he has bets in the QEII and the Balmoral Handicap.

Today's Racing Tips

Saturday's racing preview

Keith Hamer previews Saturday's QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot and has a tip for every race in the UK and Ireland.

Next Race Off

11:35 Turffontein
5
(4)
Takingthepeace
J: R Simons
2
(5)
Deo Juvente
J: C Maujean
6
(8)
Fort Ember
J: Carlos Herrera Gomez

Football Tips

Chelsea v Man United: Sporting Life's match preview

Five losses in a row at the Bridge?

Jose Mourinho has lost four matches in a row at Stamford Bridge as Manchester United boss. Will the Blues pile on the misery for the Red Devils?

Our best bets for Blackburn v Leeds

Leeds set to Klich at Ewood Park

Leeds will be looking to move back to the top of the Sky Bet Championship table when they take on Blackburn. We look at the betting.

You can back the Sporting Life Accumulator at 75/1 on Saturday

Sporting Life Accumulator

Following another win last weekend, we have a four-fold accumulator in the EFL enhanced to a huge 75/1 by title sponsors Sky Bet.