Although he was unable to achieve a home win at the 2022 US Open, New England native Keegan Bradley left no doubt how much he enjoyed playing at The Country Club in Brookline.
“I think it’s one of the best golf courses in the world, and probably one of the best sports fans in the world,” Bradley said. “Combine those two, and you get this here.
“The Country Club is spectacular,” he added. “I absolutely loved it. It’s my favorite US Open venue I’ve ever played. Every time you play a tournament in Boston, it’s electric. The fans are the best.”
Bradley left no doubt about how he would feel about a tournament returning to the Boston area:
It was a view shared by eventual champion Matt Fitzpatrick, who also won at Brookline in the 2013 US Amateur Championships.
“I love playing this golf course,” Fitzpatrick said afterward. “It fits very well. It suits my game well. I’ve been playing well for a while, and I think it all fell into place that this was the place where it was going to happen.”
As for the hometown Boston crowd, Fitzpatrick was asked how he kept his cool despite the obvious excitement.
“It felt like [my caddie Billy Foster] and I were going to stampede, but it didn’t. We are fine. I love that,” Fitzpatrick explained. “I love when the crowd is excited and loud. It’s what makes it more exciting. I love football and I love the atmosphere in it. I know golf is different, and it has to be nice and easy going and all that, but sometimes it’s nice to be a little different.”
As for the challenging course, golfers were “generally” happy with the experience.
“I thought it was great,” said Rory McIlroy, who finished the weekend tied for fifth at two under. “I thought [there were] some funny tee shots, some tee shots that I’m happy not to see again for a few years. But overall, very good setup, great US Open.
“To be able to play this championship especially so close to the big cities, I think it’s very, very important,” he continued. “Great atmosphere, great crowds. It was a very good week.”
Looking back on their time at The Country Club, golfers seemed to enjoy the strategic challenges the course posed.
Scottie Scheffler, who finished tied for second at 5-under, agreed with McIlroy that it was a “good setup.”
“Nothing unfair, nothing crazy. It was just a good test,” Scheffler said. “Especially on a day like today, where the wind died down a bit. When you’re making quality shots, you’re going to be rewarded for them.
“Then the last three days with the winds that we played in, getting off our wave was really tough, and I kind of [had to] move it,” he added. “It was fun. It’s nice to be able to fight this golf course.”
Collin Morikawa, who tied with McIlroy for fifth place, had a critique, though he agreed with the general sentiment.
“Apart from the smaller green, I thought it was the best place I had played in a long time,” he said. “There have only been a handful of courses where I’ve really set foot on the property, and you see it for a short period of time, and then you think you’re going to love it, and this was one of them. There is no BS around that. It is a good golf course.”
“You really have to plot your way around the field. You have to think it through,” Morikawa pointed out. “I thought it was a course you could play pretty well on and a course that could hurt your back pretty quickly. I think I understood both ends of that, but overall, yeah, I loved it.”
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