U.S. Open Begins Amidst Tour Controversy

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The Country Club, Brookline, MA — June 16, 2022

Normally the opening day of the U.S. Open Championship would be one to talk about the favorites to win one of the most prestigious tournaments in golf. Or in the case of this year’s 122nd playing, the fact that Tiger Woods is sitting out the third golf major of the year after competing in the Masters and PGA Championship.

The 10th hole at The Country Club in Brookline, MA, hosting the U.S. Open. Photo Credit John Mummert / USGA

Unfortunately, this year’s event is somewhat clouded by the controversy surrounding professional golf’s new tour “LIV” and its battle to lure big names to leave the PGA Tour. If you are not an avid follower of the game this contest of wills may be off your radar.

What is LIV

Back by the Public Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia, the LIV Tour is characterized as all about money. Some claim there are political undertones to the new venture and it seems everyone has an opinion on the subject. Putting all the extemporaneous chatter aside, professional athletes compete for pride but also for the monetary rewards their skills bring to them.

Look at the almost unbelievable numbers. In the attempt to draw well-recognized golfers to the new tour it targeted some of the most notable and popular names on the PGA Tour. Phil Mickelson in 32 years on the PGA tour has earned an estimated $94 million, he reportedly signed a contract with LIV that will pay him $200 million.

Dustin Johnson, formerly ranked as the number one golfer in the world, has earned $75 million in his PGA career. Johnson signed a four-year deal with LIV reported to be worth $125 million.

Big money YES!  Charl Schwartzel took home the winner’s purse in LIV’s first tournament last week in London. His bank account swelled by $4 million the biggest prize ever paid to win a professional event.

Other incentives for the new Tour include; a less rigorous schedule, more time off between events, no cuts, all players earn a share of the prize pool, and 54-hole instead of 72-hole contests. In fact, LIV is the Roman numeral equivalent of 54. The score you would record if you birdied every hole on a regulation par 72 course.

Bryson DeChambeau was the latest defector to join LIV. Here is a list of golfers committed to playing the new tour and their current world ranking.

Name (Country) OWGR ranking
Dustin Johnson (USA) 15
Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 21
Bryson DeChambeau (USA) 29
Kevin Na (USA) 34
Talor Gooch (USA) 35
Patrick Reed (USA) 38
Sergio Garcia (ESP) 57
Richard Bland (ENG) 67
Shaun Norris (RSA) 68
Matt Jones (AUS) 69
Pablo Larrazabal (ESP) 70
Phil Mickelson (USA) 72
Sam Horsfield (ENG) 74
Lee Westwood (ENG) 78
Ryosuke Kinoshita (JPN) 89
Scott Vincent (ZIM) 91
Ian Poulter (ENG) 92
Bernd Wiesberger (AUT) 94
Hudson Swafford (USA) 95
Oliver Bekker (RSA) 96
Jinichiro Kozuma (JPN) 106
Justin Harding (RSA) 109
Sadom Kaewkanjana (THA) 118
Laurie Canter (ENG) 119
Branden Grace (RSA) 123
Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 126
Hennie Du Plessis (RSA) 133
Phachara Khongwatmai (THA) 136
Sihwan Kim (USA) 139
JC Ritchie (RSA) 156
Adrian Otaegui (ESP) 165
Hideto Tanihara (JPN) 180
Martin Kaymer (GER) 215
Jediah Morgan (AUS) 239
Blake Windred (AUS) 259
Wade Ormsby (AUS) 265
Ratchanaon “TK” Chantananuwat* (THA) 269
Peter Uihlein (USA) 327
Ian Snyman (RSA) 367
Graeme McDowell (NIR) 374
Travis Smyth (AUS) 395
Viraj Madappa (IND) 493
Itthipat Buranatanyarat (THA) 591
Turk Pettit (USA) 600
Oliver Fisher (ENG) N/A
Chase Koepka (USA) N/A
Andy Ogletree (USA) N/A
James Piot* (USA) N/A
David Puig* (ESP) N/A
Kevin Yuan (AUS) N/A

List Courtesy of SportingNews.com

The PGA’s Reaction

In response to the defections, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan issued the following statement.

“Simultaneous to you receiving this memo, the players are being notified that they are suspended or otherwise no longer eligible to participate in PGA Tour tournament play, including the Presidents Cup. This applies to all tours sanctioned by the PGA Tour … As you know, players listed below did not receive the necessary conflicting event and media rights releases — or did not apply for releases at all — and their participation in the Saudi Golf League/LIV Golf events is in violation of our tournament regulations. The same fate holds true for any other players who participate in future Saudi Golf League events in violation of our regulations.” The memo was sent to 17 PGA Tour players, 10 of which had already resigned their PGA membership.

Why Is This a Major Story at the Start of the U.S. Open

Before you tune out the U.S. Open this weekend for fear that some of your favorite golfers will be ineligible to play. The “current status” is that all qualifying golfers are invited to participate in the U.S. Open. The PGA Tour does not control the tournament. The same is true for the other majors, the Master, PGA Championship, The Open(British Open), and for that matter the Ryder Cup.

There is no guarantee that the current status will continue, but for now, the LIV golfers are in. Who’s in contention? First-round results are in.

The Country Club in Brookline plays to a par 70 this week and 25 players placed in red numbers after the first round. Canadian golfer Adam Hadwin sits atop the leaderboard at four-under-par. Five players are tied at three-under, the most notable is last week’s winner of the Canadian Open Rory McIlroy. The other four, Callum Tarren, David Lingmerth, Joel Dahmen, and MJ Dauffue, like the leader Hadwin, joined the tournament out of the U.S. Open qualifier.

Adam Hadwin leads after Round One of the 2022 U.S. Open / Photo Credit Getty Images

Dustin Johnson and last year’s U.S. Amateur Champion James Piot were the only LIV golfers to break par. DeChambeau shot a one-over 71, Garcia 74, Na 75, Oosthuizen 77, and Mickelson carded a disappointing 78. Here is the list of the 15 LIV participants.

Dustin Johnson: 68
James Piot: 69
Shaun Norris: 70
Patrick Reed: 70
Richard Bland: 70
Bryson DeChambeau 71
Sam Horsfield: 73
Sergio Garcia: 74
Talor Gooch: 74
Kevin Na: 75
Jinichiro Kozuma: 76
Branden Grace: 76
Louis Oosthuizen: 77
Phil Mickelson: 78
Jed Morgan: 82

With the excitement ramping up as play progresses during the weekend, talk of the competitive tours will likely fall into the background. Don’t bet it will stay there.

Results of Round One of the U.S. Open from The Country Club in Brookline

POS PLAYER TO PAR THRU ROUND TOTAL
1 Adam Hadwin -4 F -4 66
T2 Callum Tarren -3 F* -3 67
T2 David Lingmerth -3 F* -3 67
T2 Rory McIlroy -3 F* -3 67
T2 Joel Dahmen -3 F* -3 67
T2 MJ Daffue -3 F* -3 67
T7 Hayden Buckley -2 F* -2 68
T7 Matthew NeSmith -2 F -2 68
T7 Brian Harman -2 F* -2 68
T7 Aaron Wise -2 F* -2 68
T7 Matt Fitzpatrick -2 F -2 68
T7 Dustin Johnson -2 F -2 68
T7 Justin Rose -2 F* -2 68
T14 Patrick Rodgers -1 F -1 69
T14 Collin Morikawa -1 F -1 69
T14 James Piot -1 F -1 69
T14 Jon Rahm -1 F -1 69
T14 Adam Scott -1 F -1 69
T14 Max Homa -1 F -1 69
T14 Will Zalatoris -1 F -1 69
T14 Beau Hossler -1 F -1 69
T14 Nick Hardy -1 F -1 69
T14 Justin Thomas -1 F -1 69
T14 Gary Woodland -1 F* -1 69
T14 Jason Kokrak -1 F* -1 69
T26 Travis Vick (a) E F E 70
T26 Sam Bennett (a) E F* E 70
T26 Wyndham Clark E F* E 70
T26 Daniel Berger E F E 70
T26 Hideki Matsuyama E F* E 70
T26 Xander Schauffele E F* E 70
T26 Keegan Bradley E F* E 70
T26 Marc Leishman E F* E 70
T26 Adam Schenk E F E 70
T26 Shaun Norris E F E 70
T26 Mito Pereira E F E 70
T26 Viktor Hovland E F E 70
T26 Scottie Scheffler E F* E 70
T26 Webb Simpson E F E 70
T26 Patrick Reed E F* E 70
T26 Richard Bland E F E 70
T42 Erik Barnes 1 F 1 71
T42 Matt McCarty 1 F 1 71
T42 Brandon Matthews 1 F* 1 71
T42 Wil Besseling 1 F* 1 71
T42 Joaquin Niemann 1 F 1 71
T42 Joseph Bramlett 1 F* 1 71
T42 Cameron Tringale 1 F 1 71
T42 Sam Burns 1 F* 1 71
T42 Séamus Power 1 F 1 71
T42 Corey Conners 1 F* 1 71
T42 Bryson DeChambeau 1 F* 1 71
T42 K.H. Lee 1 F* 1 71
T42 Sam Stevens 1 F* 1 71
T42 Todd Sinnott 1 F 1 71
T42 Sebastian Söderberg 1 F* 1 71
T57 Andrew Putnam 2 F 2 72
T57 Jordan Spieth 2 F 2 72
T57 Davis Riley 2 F* 2 72
T57 Patrick Cantlay 2 F 2 72
T57 Harold Varner III 2 F 2 72
T57 Cameron Young 2 F 2 72
T57 Guido Migliozzi 2 F 2 72
T57 Mackenzie Hughes 2 F 2 72
T57 Lanto Griffin 2 F* 2 72
T57 Ben Silverman 2 F 2 72
T57 Taylor Montgomery 2 F* 2 72
T57 Sungjae Im 2 F 2 72
T57 Tyrrell Hatton 2 F* 2 72
T57 Thomas Pieters 2 F* 2 72
T57 Joohyung Kim 2 F 2 72
T57 Cameron Smith 2 F* 2 72
T57 Luke List 2 F* 2 72
T57 Austin Greaser (a) 2 F* 2 72
T57 Shane Lowry 2 F 2 72
T57 Tommy Fleetwood 2 F* 2 72
T57 Bo Hoag 2 F 2 72
T57 Adrien Dumont de Chassart (a) 2 F* 2 72
T79 Denny McCarthy 3 F* 3 73
T79 Victor Perez 3 F* 3 73
T79 Billy Horschel 3 F 3 73
T79 Alex Norén 3 F 3 73
T79 Kevin Kisner 3 F* 3 73
T79 Stewart Hagestad (a) 3 F 3 73
T79 Francesco Molinari 3 F* 3 73
T79 Stewart Cink 3 F* 3 73
T79 Chan Kim 3 F* 3 73
T79 Chris Gotterup 3 F* 3 73
T79 Chris Naegel 3 F* 3 73
T79 Kevin Chappell 3 F 3 73
T79 Andrew Novak 3 F 3 73
T79 Brian Stuard 3 F 3 73
T79 Sam Horsfield 3 F 3 73
T79 Tom Hoge 3 F* 3 73
T79 Tony Finau 3 F 3 73
T79 Min Woo Lee 3 F 3 73
T79 Brooks Koepka 3 F* 3 73
T79 Keita Nakajima (a) 3 F 3 73
T79 Nick Taylor 3 F 3 73
T79 Harris English 3 F* 3 73
T79 Daijiro Izumida 3 F* 3 73
T102 Kurt Kitayama 4 F* 4 74
T102 Scott Stallings 4 F* 4 74
T102 Sebastián Muñoz 4 F 4 74
T102 Satoshi Kodaira 4 F 4 74
T102 Tomoyasu Sugiyama 4 F 4 74
T102 Harry Hall 4 F* 4 74
T102 Chase Seiffert 4 F 4 74
T102 Talor Gooch 4 F* 4 74
T102 Sergio Garcia 4 F* 4 74
T102 Patton Kizzire 4 F* 4 74
T102 Jim Furyk 4 F 4 74
T102 Lucas Herbert 4 F* 4 74
T102 Ryan Fox 4 F 4 74
T102 Davis Shore 4 F* 4 74
T102 Ryan Gerard 4 F* 4 74
T117 Troy Merritt 5 F 5 75
T117 William Mouw (a) 5 F 5 75
T117 Grayson Murray 5 F 5 75
T117 Laird Shepherd (a) 5 F* 5 75
T117 Thorbjørn Olesen 5 F 5 75
T117 Maxwell Moldovan (a) 5 F* 5 75
T117 Kevin Na 5 F* 5 75
T117 Jonas Blixt 5 F 5 75
T125 Fran Quinn 6 F* 6 76
T125 Si Woo Kim 6 F* 6 76
T125 Russell Henley 6 F* 6 76
T125 Branden Grace 6 F 6 76
T125 Jinichiro Kozuma 6 F* 6 76
T125 Roger Sloan 6 F 6 76
T125 Luke Gannon 6 F* 6 76
T125 Adri Arnaus 6 F* 6 76
T125 Danny Lee 6 F 6 76
T125 Charles Reiter (a) 6 F 6 76
T125 Brady Calkins 6 F* 6 76
T136 Michael Thorbjornsen (a) 7 F 7 77
T136 Sepp Straka 7 F* 7 77
T136 Kalle Samooja 7 F 7 77
T136 Richard Mansell 7 F 7 77
T136 Yannik Paul 7 F* 7 77
T136 Louis Oosthuizen 7 F 7 77
T136 Rikuya Hoshino 7 F 7 77
T136 Ben Lorenz (a) 7 F* 7 77
T144 Marcel Schneider 8 F* 8 78
T144 Andrew Beckler 8 F* 8 78
T144 Erik van Rooyen 8 F 8 78
T144 Phil Mickelson 8 F 8 78
T144 Nick Dunlap (a) 8 F 8 78
T144 Sean Jacklin 8 F 8 78
T150 Fred Biondi (a) 9 F* 9 79
T150 Isaiah Salinda 9 F 9 79
152 Jesse Mueller 10 F* 10 80
153 Jed Morgan 12 F* 12 82
T154 Caleb Manuel (a) 13 F 13 83
T154 Keith Greene 13 F 13 83
T154 Sean Crocker 13 F* 13 83

(a) Amateur, *Started Round on 10th Hole, LIV Golfers