US Open 2020 | FAQ

As we look forward to the 2020 US Open at Winged Foot Golf Club, we answer some frequently asked questions about this year’s highly anticipated tournament.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event has been pushed back from its traditional June dates to September 17-21 and is being held without any spectators.

When is the US Open usually played?

Traditionally, the US Open is scheduled for the third weekend of June. This will be the first time the event hasn’t been played then since 1932.

It will now be the second event of the 2020-21 PGA Tour season, played just a fortnight after Dustin Johnson won the 2019-20 season-ending Tour Championship and FedExCup at East Lake.

Does this mean we are going to have two US Opens in the 2020-2021 PGA Tour season?

Yes! This PGA Tour season will actually include six major championships. The 120th US Open will be followed by the re-scheduled Masters at Augusta National (Nov 12-15).

Then we’ll get the usual four Majors in 2021: the Masters (April 8-11); the US PGA at Kiawah Island (May 19-23); the US Open at Torrey Pines (June 17-20); and The Open at Royal St George’s (July 15-18).

So, no fans will be allowed at Winged Foot?

The event will be played behind closed doors with no fans. The 2,000 or so people who will be at Winged Foot each day will be tested for Covid-19 upon arrival and be subject to daily temperature checks and a health questionnaire.

Who conducts the US Open?

The United States Golf Association (USGA), the governing body of golf for the US and Mexico. Together with The R&A, the USGA produces and interprets the rules of golf.

Who qualifies for the US Open and has Covid-19 affected qualification?

The usual route to playing the US Open through local and sectional qualifying had to be cancelled due to Covid-19. Instead, the USGA used a series of one-time exemption categories to determine the field.

So, the 2020 US Open is not really ‘open’ as qualification wasn’t open to all?

This is true to an extent, but the USGA’s exemption categories were developed to mirror the usual representative US Open field with players still having the opportunity to obtain a place in the field through those categories.

How can I watch the US Open?

In June 2020, NBC Universal reacquired the US broadcast and media rights for the US Open. NBC will use its cable arm, Golf Channel, and its streaming service, Peacock, to show the event. In the UK, Sky Sports will be televising the tournament.

Where is the 2020 US Open being played?

The US Open will be played on the West Course at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York. It will play as a par 70 at 7,477 yards.

What kind of golf course is it?

Winged Foot West, opened in 1923, is a classic tree-lined course designed by architect A.W. Tillinghast. The course was updated in 2017 by famed designer Gil Hanse who restored the greens to their original size.

The US Open is known for being extremely difficult to achieve low scores. Will 2020 be the same?

Yes, probably. The US Open is known for brutish rough and Winged Foot will be no different. But the course is also known for its undulating and tricky to read greens.

Winged Foot has hosted the US Open five other times. The last time, when Geoff Ogilvy won in 2006, he won with a score of 5-over par!

Who are the favourites to win?

World number one Dustin Johnson will start as favourite and will be looking for that elusive second major title. World number two Jon Rahm and number seven Xander Schauffele are among those looking for their first major championship titles.

World numbers three and four Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy are expected to be right up there challenging. World number five Collin Morikawa will be hoping to win his second major in a row after winning the PGA Championship in August.

Is Tiger Woods playing?

Tiger Woods will be playing at Winged Foot and is looking for his first US Open title since 2008. He has won this major three times. If he wins it will be his 16th major (still two behind Jack Nicklaus) and record 83rd PGA Tour win.

Brooks Koepka won’t be playing?

Koepka, who won back-to-back US Open titles in 2017-18 and was runner up in 2019, announced he would not play due to a knee injury.

Why is Winged Foot and the US Open significant for Phil Mickelson?

‘Lefty’ needs the US Open to complete his career grand slam of winning all four majors. He has been runner-up at the event six times.

In 2006 he needed a par on the 72nd hole at Winged Foot to win it, but he carded a heartbreaking double bogey and finished a shot back from Geoff Ogilvy. Colin Montgomerie also carded a double bogey, handing the title to Ogilvy.

If Mickelson, now 50 years old, wins, will he be the oldest oldest winner of the US Open?

Yes. The oldest player to win so far is Hale Irwin, who won in 1990 at Medinah Country Club when he was 45 years and 15 days old.

How much is the purse of the US Open, and how much does the winner receive?

This year’s winner’s cheque is $2,250,000 (out of $12.5m overall purse). The winner is also exempt from qualifying for the other three majors and The Players Championship for the next five years, and exempt from US Open qualifying for the next 10 years.

How many players are in the field?

Usually there are 156 players, but the field has been reduced to 144 due to reduced daylight that comes with playing the championship in September rather than June.

What is the format of the US Open?

The US Open is a four-round, 72-hole stroke-play championship, with a cut after 36 holes.

If players are tied after 72 holes, how is the winner determined?

In 2018, the USGA introduced a two-hole aggregate playoff. If still tied after two holes, players will then compete in sudden death holes until a winner is crowned.

Who won in 2019?

American Gary Woodland won at Pebble Beach on 13 under, three shots ahead of Brooks Koepka. Jon Rahm, Chez Reavie, Xander Schauffele, and 2013 US Open champion Justin Rose finished T3, six shots back.

When was the last time an international player won the US Open?

The last international player to win was Germany’s Martin Kaymer at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2014.

Who has won the most US Opens?

Willie Anderson, Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus jointly hold the record with four victories.

What is the US Open scoring record?

The scoring record is held by Rory McIlroy, who shot a total of 16-under 268 at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda in 2011.

Who had the largest victory margin?

Tiger Woods won by 15 strokes at Pebble Beach in 2000. This is the record for any major.

What is the lowest round in US Open history?

Six players hold the record with a score of 63. They are: Johnny Miller, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Weiskopf, Vijay Singh, Justin Thomas and Tommy Fleetwood.

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