The 18th green at Pinehurst No. 2 at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club. No. 2 will play host to the U.S. Open on June 12-15th. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

2014 US Open: A First Look at Pinehurst

In t-minus 6 days, the best golf has to offer will descend on the relatively tiny village of Pinehurst, NC. Many of the top players and coaches are working out the final kinks in their games in preparation, while many who missed out on qualifying spots are in Memphis, trying to pick up enough Official World Golf Ranking points to vault into exempted status. With officially less than one week until the opening tee shot of the 2014 US Open at Pinehurst No. 2, here’s a rundown of everything you’ll need to know about America’s National Championship. Who: The official criteria for obtaining one of the 156 spots in the field is as follows;

  • Winners of the last ten U.S. Opens (Justin Rose, Webb Simpson, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Lucas Glover, Angel CabreraGeoff Ogilvy, Michael CampbellRetief Goosen).
  • Winner and runner-up from the previous year’s U.S. Amateur (Matthew Fitzpatrick and Oliver Goss)
  • Winner of the previous year’s British Amateur (Garrick Porteous)
  • The previous year’s top-ranked amateur golfer in the world. (Matthew Fitzpatrick) 
  • Winners of each of Masters Tournament (Bubba WatsonAdam ScottCharl SchwartzelPhil Mickelson), Open Championship (Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Darren ClarkeLouis OosthuizenStewart Cink) and PGA Championship (Jason Dufner, Rory McIlroy, Keegan BradleyMartin KaymerYang Yong-eun) for the last five years
  • Winners of the last three Players Championships. (Martin Kaymer, Tiger Woods, Matt Kuchar)
  • Winner of the current year’s BMW PGA Championship (Rory McIlroy)
  • Winner of the last U.S. Senior Open (Kenny Perry)
  • Top 10 finishers and ties from the previous year’s U.S. Open (Justin Rose, Phil Mickelson, Jason DayHunter MahanBilly Horschel, Ernie Els, Jason Dufner, Steve StrickerLuke DonaldRickie FowlerGonzalo Fernandez-CastanoNicolas ColsaertsHideki Matsuyama)
  • Players who qualified for the previous year’s Tour Championship (These players didn’t qualify above – Henrik StensonZach JohnsonGraeme DeLaetBrandt SnedekerJim FurykNick WatneyJordan SpiethGary WoodlandBill HaasKevin StreelmanRoberto CastroSergio Garcia, Boo WeekleyBrendon de JongeD.A. PointsDustin Johnson)
  • The top 60 in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) as of two weeks before the start of the tournament (These players also didn’t qualify above – Brendon ToddMiguel Angel Jimenez, Thomas Bjorn, Jonas Blixt, Jamie Donaldson, Victor Dubuisson, Harris English, Matthew Every, Stephen Gallacher, Russell Henley, Thongchai Jaidee, Matt Jones, Chris Kirk, Pablo Larrazabal, Joost Luiten, Francesco Molinari, Ryan Moore, Ryan Palmer, Ian Poulter, Patrick Reed, John Senden, Kevin Stadler, Richard Sterne, Brendon Todd, Jimmy WalkerLee Westwood)
  • The top 60 in the OWGR as of the tournament date (We’ll get to this in a moment)
  • Special exemptions selected by the USGA (None as of publishing date)
  • All remaining spots after the second top 60 OWGR cutoff date filled by alternates from qualifying tournaments. (A list of the qualifiers can be found here, but here are some notable names – Justin LeonardSeung-Yul NohPaul CaseyAaron BaddeleyJ.B. HolmesDavid TomsAlex CejkaShane Lowry, Brooks Koekpa)

What: The US Open is the pinnacle of golf in the United States. The list of players to win the event is a who’s who of golf royalty over the past century. It’s also a showcase of the most prestigious and difficult golf courses in America. The rotation of courses to host the US Open more or less reads the same as the “Top 100″ rankings of the major golf publications. Firm and fast conditions and punishing course setups are the name of the game, with many winners failing to break par on their way to hoisting the trophy. The history of the US Open dates back to 1895, when it was played on a 9 hole course in Rhode Island as a 36 hole event. It was dominated early by British golfers, until 1911 and 1912 when John McDermott won back to back events. In a well chronicled tale that spawned a Disney Movie and still lives in golf lore, young Francis Ouimet out-dueled heavy hitting brits Harry Vardon and Ted Ray to win the title as an amateur. Vardon and Ray were largely considered the best golfers in the world at the time, while Ouimet was but a former caddie from a poor family who took down the giants against all odds. Golf’s place in popular culture today can be partially attributed to the US Open and it’s rise to “major” status, as it featured American links and was dominated by American golfers, which was quite a departure from the Euro-centric history of the sport. When: Festivities for the week kick off on Tuesday June 10th, with a tribute to the late Payne Stewart, who tragically passed just months after winning the 1999 US Open, which was also held at Pinehurst. Tees are in the ground on Thursday at 6:45am EST as the amateurs and qualifiers are first to take to the course. The power groups dominate the morning slate, with notable groups as follows:

Sergio Garcia, Jason Day and Brandt Snedeker – 7:18am
Webb Simpson, Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell – 7:40am
Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose and Matthew Fitzpatrick – 7:51am
Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Hideki Matsuyama – 8:13am
Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley and Martin Kaymer – 1:47pm
ESPN will have live coverage of the first two rounds from 9am-3pm and 6pm-7pm EST, while NBC Sports will take over between 3pm-5pm EST. For the weekend rounds, NBC will have coverage from 12:00pm-7:30pm EST on both Saturday and Sunday.
Because it’s the US Freaking Open!But, if you need more motivation, the No. 2 Course at Pinehurst Resort underwent an extensive renovation recently by minimalist architect starts Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. The goal was to move away from the chiseled, green and sterile look that Pinehurst had taken on, and restore it to the more natural looking and wider course that it was originally intended to be.By all accounts the course is in fantastic shape and the renovation was a rousing success. The typical US Open rough has been supplanted by unforgiving waste areas full of sand and gorse. Straight drives and skillful approaches are still vital, but with wider fairways and the removal of the rough, it should allow for some greater risk/reward choices for the players. The course will play 7,562 yards to a par of 70, making the 2014 US Open the longest course per stroke in US Open history. It will feature 4 par 4’s over 500 yards and will be over 300 yards longer than it played for the 2005 US Open and nearly 400 yards longer than in 1999.
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Tags: 2014 US Open Phil Mickelson Pinehurst US Open US Open Information Us Open Tv Schedule

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