BROOKLINE, Mass. — A lot can happen on a Saturday at the U.S. Open, especially with a leaderboard as packed as this one. With a mix of big names and lesser-known ones, things could get interesting on a cooler, windier day at The Country Club.
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Here is what is happening:
It’s getting spicy out there
Justin Thomas wasn’t pleased after a USGA rules official denied him relief from a drain in the middle of the fairway. His ball was inches to the right of the drain. He would have been granted relief if the drain had been affecting his stance or the line of his swing. After chunking his shot, Thomas let his frustration out in a, well, very colorful way. “That’s what pisses me off, because so many other people would lie about being able to hit that, but it’s just like, I’m not going to hit it. That’s f—ing bulls—, man,” Thomas said to caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay, before tossing his iron at his bag.
According to a USGA statement: “During the discussion, Justin was asked if the drain was going to interfere with his swing, to which he replied it was not. Because there was no interference from the drain, Justin was not provided relief. Rule 16.1a(1) states that interference from an immovable obstruction exists when the ball touches or is in or on the obstruction, or the obstruction physically interferes with the player’s area of intended stance or area of intended swing. The Rule goes on to state that if the obstruction is close enough to distract the player but does not otherwise interfere, there is no relief under the Rule.” — Mark Schlabach
Frustration on No. 4.pic.twitter.com/0YEm1abVGZ
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 18, 2022
The course at The Country Club is already playing much harder through the early Saturday wave than it had the first two days, so it felt like adding insult to injury when Hideki Matsuyama’s second shot into the short par-4 fifth hole hit the flag on a bounce and rolled all the way back into the greenside bunker.
Hideki Matsuyama’s shot hits the stick and rolls into the bunker. 😮
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) June 18, 2022
Matsuyama got up from the sand and back on the green, but the damage was done. What would have likely been a birdie to get him into red numbers turned into an unfortunate bogey that put him at 1 over. — Paolo Uggetti
Moving Day at the 122nd U.S. Open might seem more like Grinding Day for the 64 players who survived the 36-hole cut. With winds picking up at The Country Club, and the USGA having its typical fun with pin placements on the weekend, players are having a very difficult time so far. According to the USGA, greens were rolling in the upper 12s and were double cut and rolled Saturday morning.
With more than half the field having started its round, only two players who have played at least nine holes — Australia’s Todd Sinnott and Denny McCarthy — are under par. Several high-profile players, including Joaquin Niemann, Bryson DeChambeau, Tyrrell Hatton and Max Homa, are already 5 over or worse. — Schlabach
Xander Schauffele isn’t the only member of his team who will be attempting to battle back on Saturday. His father and coach, Stefan, is back out at The Country Club after being stung in the upper lip by a hornet. Probably not the stinger he had in mind in the windy conditions. — Schlabach
The name game
Announcements on the first tee at this U.S. Open have not gone well. On Friday, Scott Stallings, who grew up in Worcester was introduced as being from “War-chester.” It’s actually pronounced “Woostah,” and the locals let the guy who said it know about it. On Saturday, things got worse.
Justin Thomas is pretty famous. Just won the PGA Championship. Ranked fifth in the world. Simple, right? Nope. He was introduced as “Justin Thompson.”
For accuracy’s sake
At the U.S. Open, you pick your spots very carefully. Here’s what the players will be staring at all day.
It’s moving day!
— U.S. Open (USGA) (@usopengolf) June 18, 2022
The money talks
Thanks to LIV Golf, the sport is talking a lot more about money these days. On Saturday morning, the USGA released the full purse breakdown for this week.
Let’s start first with those who didn’t make the cut. They each got $10,000 for the two days of work. Now, to the real money (keeping in mind that Charl Schwartzel took home $4.75 million for winning the first LIV event in London. The total payout is $17.5 million. Here is what a spot in the top 10 is worth:
1. $3.15 million
2. $1.89 million
3. $1.23 million
The player who finishes 60th will take home $36,852.