While the Masters may get the hype and the glory, the U.S. Open is the most demanding golf tournament of the year.
Expect the best players in the world to have plenty of difficulty when they tee off at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, New York, for the first round Thursday. The tournament is scheduled to conclude Sunday, barring any long weather delays.
The U.S. Open is known for its narrow fairways and punishing rough, and it figures to be as tough as ever this year. One of the reasons for that is the relatively easy time golfers had in the 2017 event at Erin Hills in Wisconsin.
The tract was wide open, and players did not face the demanding tee shots they usually see at the U.S. Open. Brooks Koepka, one of the strongest bombers on the tour, won that event with a score of 16 under par, and seven golfers were 10-under or better.
The United States Golf Association wants the tournament to bring out the best in the 156 competitors.
"The U.S. Open really is, we consider, golf's ultimate test, and accuracy needed to play a bigger role in that," said Mike Davis, the USGA chief executive, per Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press (h/t Columbus Dispatch).
Phil Mickelson said Shinnecock Hills looks like it has been prepared well and the golfers will face a strong and fair test.
"Skill is brought into play with the short game there," Mickelson said. "I think that it will reward the best player as opposed to having luck be a big element on some of the bounces in the fairway, bounces around the green, how it comes out of the rough."
The tournament will feature several glamorous pairings, and the spotlight will shine brightest on Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Tiger Woods. Those three will tee off at 1:47 p.m. ET Thursday and 8:02 a.m. Friday.
Mickelson, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth will tee off at 8:02 a.m. Thursday and 1:47 p.m. Friday, while Rickie Folwer, Hideki Matsuyama and Marc Leishman will follow that group at 8:13 a.m. Thursday and and 1:58 p.m. Friday.
Here's a look at all the tee times, courtesy of the Golf Channel:
Thursday, June 14, hole #1 / Friday, June 15, hole #10
6:45 a.m. / 12:30 p.m. Harold Varner, Gastonia, N.C.; TBD; Matthieu Pavon, France
6:56 a.m. / 12:41 p.m. Michael Putnam, University Place, Wash.; Scott Gregory, England; Will Zalatoris, Plano, Texas
7:07 a.m. / 12:52 p.m. Brendan Steele, Idyllwild, Calif.; Chesson Hadley, Raleigh, N.C.; (a) Harry Ellis, England
7:18 a.m. / 1:03 p.m. Jhonattan Vegas, Venezuela; Dylan Frittelli, South Africa; (a) Doug Ghim, Arlington Heights, Ill.
7:29 a.m. / 1:14 p.m. Louis Oosthuizen, South Africa; Jimmy Walker, Boerne, Texas; Justin Rose, England
7:40 a.m. / 1:25 p.m. Bubba Watson, Bagdad, Fla.; Jason Day, Australia; Brooks Koepka, West Palm Beach, Fla.
7:51 a.m. / 1:36 p.m. Tyrrell Hatton, England; Danny Willett, England; Ian Poulter, England
8:02 a.m. / 1:47 p.m. Kevin Chappell, Fresno, Calif.; Andrew Johnston, England; Daniel Berger, Jupiter, Fla.
8:13 a.m. / 1:58 p.m. Bryson DeChambeau, Clovis, Calif.; Matthew Fitzpatrick, England; Matt Kuchar, Sea Island, Ga.
8:24 a.m. / 2:09 p.m. Thorbjorn Olesen, Denmark; Shubhankar Sharma, India; Patrick Rodgers, Avon, Ind.
8:35 a.m. / 2:20 p.m. Lanto Griffin, Blacksburg, Va.; Tom Lewis, England; (a) Jacob Bergeron, Slidell, La.
8:46 a.m. / 2:31 p.m. (a) Kristoffer Reitan, Norway; (a) Luis Gagne, Costa Rica; Cole Miller, New Tripoli, Pa.
8:57 a.m. / 2:42 p.m. Mickey DeMorat, Merritt Island, Fla.; (a) Tyler Strafaci, Davie, Fla.; Calum Hill, Scotland
Thursday, June 14, hole #10 / Friday, June 15, hole #1
6:45 a.m. / 12:30 p.m. Scott Stallings, Knoxville, Tenn.; Sebastian Munoz, Colombia; Matthew Southgate, England
6:56 a.m. / 12:41 p.m. Trey Mullinax, Gardendale, Ala.; (a) Matt Parziale, Brockton, Mass.; Jason Scrivener, Australia
7:07 a.m. / 12:52 p.m. David Bransdon, Australia; Eric Axley, Knoxville, Tenn.; Tyler Duncan, Columbus, Ind.
7:18 a.m. / 1:03 p.m. (a) Garrett Rank, Canada; Mackenzie Hughes, Canada; Aaron Baddeley, Australia
7:29 a.m. / 1:14 p.m. Alexander Levy, France; Brian Harman, Sea Island, Ga.; Patrick Cantlay, Long Beach, Calif.
7:40 a.m. / 1:25 p.m. Paul Casey, England; Satoshi Kodaira, Japan; Branden Grace, South Africa
7:51 a.m. / 1:36 p.m. Zach Johnson, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Charl Schwartzel, South Africa; Patrick Reed, Houston, Texas
8:02 a.m. / 1:47 p.m. Rory McIlroy, Northern Ireland; Jordan Spieth, Dallas, Texas; Phil Mickelson, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
8:13 a.m. / 1:58 p.m. Hideki Matsuyama, Japan; Marc Leishman, Australia; Rickie Fowler, Murrieta, Calif.
8:24 a.m. / 2:09 p.m. Charles Howell, Orlando, Fla.; Bill Haas, Greenville, S.C.; Charley Hoffman, San Diego, Calif.
8:35 a.m. / 2:20 p.m. Sungjae Im, Republic of Korea; Russell Knox, Scotland; Matthew Wallace, England
8:46 a.m. / 2:31 p.m. (a) Shintaro Ban, San Jose, Calif.; Sung Joon Park, Republic of Korea; Timothy Wilkinson, New Zealand
8:57 a.m. – 2:42 p.m. Dylan Meyer, Evansville, Ind.; Sulman Raza, Eugene, Ore.; Chris Naegel, Wildwood, Mo.
Thursday (June 14), hole #1 / Friday (June 15), hole #10
12:30 p.m. / 6:45 a.m. Sam Burns, Shreveport, La.; Brian Gay, Windermere, Fla.; Dean Burmester, South Africa
12:41 p.m. / 6:56 a.m. TBD; (a) Chun An Yu, Chinese Taipei; Wenchong Liang, People's Republic of China
12:52 p.m. / 7:07 a.m. Russell Henley, Charleston, S.C.; Aaron Wise, Las Vegas, Nev.; Peter Uihlein, Jupiter, Fla.
1:03 p.m. / 7:18 a.m. Tony Finau, Lehi, Utah; Luke List, Seal Beach, Calif.; Gary Woodland, Topeka, Kan.
1:14 p.m. / 7:29 a.m. Sergio Garcia, Spain; Jon Rahm, Spain; Rafa Cabrera Bello, Spain
1:25 p.m. / 7:40 a.m. Tommy Fleetwood, England; Francesco Molinari, Italy; Alexander Noren, Sweden
1:36 p.m. / 7:51 a.m. Cameron Smith, Australia; Kyle Stanley, Gig Harbor, Wash.; Pat Perez, Scottsdale, Ariz.
1:47 p.m. / 8:02 a.m. Justin Thomas, Goshen, Ky.; Dustin Johnson, Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Tiger Woods, Hobe Sound, Fla.
1:58 p.m. / 8:13 a.m. Haotong Li, People’s Republic of China; Si Woo Kim, Republic of Korea; Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Thailand
2:09 p.m. / 8:24 a.m. Jason Dufner, Auburn, Ala.; (a) Braden Thornberry, Olive Branch, Miss.; Brandt Snedeker, Nashville, Tenn.
2:20 p.m. / 8:35 a.m. TBD; (a) Ryan Lumsden, Scotland; James Morrison, England
2:31 p.m. / 8:46 a.m. Cameron Wilson, Rowayton, Conn.; (a) Will Grimmer, Cincinnati, Ohio; (a) Philip Barbaree, Shreveport, La.
2:42 p.m. / 8:57 a.m. (a) Rhett Rasmussen, Draper, Utah; Michael Hebert, Atlanta, Ga.; Michael Block, Mission Viejo, Calif.
Thursday, June 14, hole #10 / Friday, June 15, hole #1
12:30 p.m. / 6:45 a.m. Matthew Jones, Australia; Ryan Fox, New Zealand; Shota Akiyoshi, Japan
12:41 p.m. / 6:56 a.m. Paul Waring, England; (a) Theo Humphrey, Greenwich, Conn.; TBD
12:52 p.m. / 7:07 a.m. Richy Werenski, West Palm Beach, Fla.; Roberto Castro, Atlanta, Ga.; Ollie Schniederjans, Alpharetta, Ga.
1:03 p.m. / 7:18 a.m. (a) Noah Goodwin, Corinth, Texas; Richie Ramsay, Scotland; Kenny Perry, Franklin, Ky.
1:14 p.m. / 7:29 a.m. Keegan Bradley, Woodstock, Vt.; TBD; Xander Schauffele, San Diego, Calif.
1:25 p.m. / 7:40 a.m. Lucas Glover, Tequesta, Fla.; Webb Simpson, Charlotte, N.C.; Graeme McDowell, Northern Ireland
1:36 p.m. / 7:51 a.m. Ernie Els, South Africa; Steve Stricker, Madison, Wis.; Jim Furyk, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
1:47 p.m. / 8:02 a.m. Henrik Stenson, Sweden; Adam Scott, Australia; Martin Kaymer, Germany
1:58 p.m. / 8:13 a.m. Kevin Kisner, Aiken, S.C.; Ross Fisher, England; Adam Hadwin, Canada
2:09 p.m. / 8:24 a.m. Shane Lowry, Republic of Ireland; TBD; Chez Reavie, Scottsdale, Ariz.
2:20 p.m. / 8:35 a.m. Lucas Herbert, Australia; Brian Stuard, Jackson, Mich.; (a) Stewart Hagestad, Newport Beach, Calif.
2:31 p.m. / 8:46 a.m. (a) Franklin Huang, Poway, Calif.; Sebastian Vazquez, Mexico; Michael Miller, Mount Kisco, N.Y.
2:42 p.m. / 8:57 a.m. Christopher Babcock, Shoreline, Wash.; (a) Timothy Wiseman, Corydon, Ind.; David Gazzolo, Riverside, Calif.
The 2018 U.S. Open will be televised by Fox. The network won the bidding for the U.S. Open in 2013 and this year's event marks its fourth consecutive tournament.
The Fox Network and FS1 will combine to provide nearly wall-to-wall coverage of the event.
Televison Broadcast Schedule
Thursday, June 14
FS1: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Fox: 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Friday, June 15
FS1: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Fox: 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 16
Fox: 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 17
Fox: 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Producer Mark Loomis said the network has the ability to look a the tournament in a different manner that traditional golf-broadcast networks.
"One big advantage that we have is we're kind of a fresh look at it," he said, per Neil Best of Newsday. "When Paul Azinger comes up, you haven't been hearing him week to week to week. When we got Paul, I think we got the best guy in the business."
While the honor of winning the national tournament in what is arguably the most difficult environment of the year is reward in itself, players will be competing for $12 million in prize money. The winner is scheduled to earn $2.16 million, a substantial prize.