2023 U.S. Open: The Winners and Losers at LACC

Rickie Fowler, 123rd U.S. Open, (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Rickie Fowler, 123rd U.S. Open, (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

The third major of the year is officially in the books, now it’s time to take a look at who the real winners and losers at the 123rd U.S. Open were. Let’s dig in!

2023 U.S. Open Winners

Tommy Fleetwood

It’s getting harder and harder to understand how Fleetwood has reached the age of 32 without a win on the PGA Tour. Despite making 100 cuts out of the 120 PGA events he’s played, lifting the trophy has evaded him all 120 times.

Last week, Fleetwood agonisingly missed out on his debut PGA Tour win after a fourth-hole playoff defeat by Nick Taylor who was the first Canadian to win their native open in nearly 70 years. Fleetwood must have been harbouring some resentment still when he turned up at LACC this week and opened with a poor 73.

Fleetwood put the moping behind him and shot 69-70-63 to finish just 5 back of Wyndham Clark on Sunday and finish tied with Rickie Fowler, who he trailed by 11 strokes after the first 18 holes.

Fleetwood’s golf game may not be getting all the answers he wants right now, but he is asking all the right questions.

Tom Kim

Born in just 2002 and already having two PGA Tour wins, Kim is one of golf’s most exciting young prospects. Kim earned a Special Temporary Membership for the remainder of last year’s season after a T47 at The Open, and then secured full status for this season.

Another slow starter, this week Kim finished 68-66-69 to earn the first top-10 major finish of his young career. Kim will be glad to tick off this milestone and add many more to his name in the coming years.

Kim demonstrated his future promise by becoming just the fourth player in U.S. Open history to shoot 29 through a front or back 9 after Vijay Singh, Louis Oosthuizen, and Neal Lancaster. This will not be the last major record that Kim breaks.

Min Woo Lee

Lee backdoor qualified his way into the 2023 U.S. Open on 22 May 2023 by being the top player on the 2023 Race to Dubai Rankings. He capitalised on his good form to finish T-5 and earn his first major-top 10 and best finish in a major to date.

The Australian native shrewdly qualified for The Open back in December 2022 by securing a solo third finish at his national open.

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2023 U.S. Open Losers

Rory McIlroy

It’s been 12 years since McIlroy won the U.S. Open, his first major, in 2011. McIlroy has played 58 majors and finished in the top-5 17 times; a better conversion rate than Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, and Gene Sarazen.

Despite his missed cut at the Masters this year, Rory has only once failed to finish in the top-8 in a major since the 2021 U.S. Open.  McIlroy has mastered the ability to be consistent better than anyone in this period, but keeps being beaten by a handful of better guys on the day.

This week’s solo 2nd place will draw back unpleasant memories of being in the final pairing at St Andrews at last year’s Open and failing to convert. This weekend McIlroy shot 70 on Sunday to finish one shot short of forcing a playoff, a deficit that a player of his calibre should have closed.

Rickie Fowler

In many ways this weekend will feel like a huge win for Rickie, and deservedly so. It was only a few months ago when Rickie was yet to qualify for any of this year’s majors. Rickie’s brilliant early season form changed that and allowed him entry in to each major this year apart from the Masters, which fell too early in the season for his form to earn him qualification.

However, Fowler was stood on the first tee on Sunday as co-leader, and holding the score that ultimately turned out to be the winning score. Wyndham Clark shot even par to win his first major championship. Rickie shot a 5-over 75 to finish T-5. This U.S. Open performance is good progress, but is still a huge loss and a missed opportunity.

Even players of Rickie’s calibre do not get many chances like the one he had on Sunday, and you have to wonder how many more he will get.

California Golf Fans

California has hosted many U.S. Opens across the years, from Pebble Beach, to Torrey Pines, to Olympic Club. This year though, the atmosphere was different, and it did not go unnoticed by players and fans alike.

LACC offered just 9,000 tickets per day as general admission available to the regular public. This left a huge proportion of tickets being taken up by corporate sponsors or LACC members. This is pale in comparison to the 290,000 fans welcomed to the 2022 Open at St Andrews last year.

California will next have the honour of hosting the U.S. Open in 2027 when Pebble Beach returns to centre stage.

Xander Schauffele

Schauffele stole the headlines with Rickie after both players posted an 8-under par 62 to storm into the early lead and break the tournament record.

Despite having a successful career with numerous wins, and strong consistency in the majors (finishing in the top-25 in 18 of the 25 majors he’s played in his career), a major title has escaped his reach.

At only 29, Schauffele still has a lot of career ahead of him, but failing to capitalise after a once-in-a-lifetime start will leave the Olympic Gold Medalist thinking he ought to have walked away with more than a T10.

Schauffele will now be tasked with the role of defending champion at this week’s Travelers Championship.

Next. 2023 Travelers Championship Power Rankings. dark

Phil Mickelson

A token mention for Mickelson who shot four over par on Friday to miss the cut. This counts as his 9th failed attempt to win the U.S. Open and complete the career Grand Slam since winning The Open in 2013.