Matthew Fitzpatrick, a 27-year-old Englishman who has won eight times in Europe, scored his first PGA Tour win in emphatic fashion by winning the US Open on the same course where he won the US Amateur nine years ago. Fitzpatrick took home the winner’s check of $3.15 million after shooting a 68 in the final round for a six-under 274 at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, the course where 20-year-old Francis Ouimet edged out two English stars of the game in 1913. to put golf on the map in the US.
The impact of Ouimet’s story, told in The best game ever played, cannot be oversold. Before his victory there were 350,000 golfers in the US; two years later there were 2.1 million. Despite the fame his victory brought him, Ouimet remained a lifelong fan, providing another poignant counterpoint to recent developments in the game.
The US Open has long delivered the biggest paycheck among the four majors, so after the Masters and PGA Championship boosted its total earnings to $12.5 million earlier this year, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the Open would do the same. And since it paid out $12.5 last year, a jump to $13.5 thought it would work, but in these days of crazy money for professional golfers, the USGA upped the jackpot to $17.5 million.
It’s hard not to see LIV Golf’s influence on that total. The Saudi-backed exhibition series did not receive much attention over the final 36 holes as none of the players on their roster were in contention. Only four of the 13 in the field made the cut (Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Bryson DeChambeau and Richard Bland), and the top-ranked among them was Johnson, who tied for 24.the to 4 over par. A rusty Phil Mickelson retired after shooting 78-73 to miss the cut at 11-over.
That’s not to say the new series hasn’t caught your attention. Earlier in the week, Mickelson endured a strangely restricted press session, and Bryson DeChambeau spoke about his decision to sign up. “It was a business decision, first and foremost,” he said. “That’s all there was. It has given me so many more opportunities outside of the game of golf and it has given me more time with my family and my future family. So for me, that was the decision.”
DeChambeau, who is single, transformed his game by building a home gym and working out three times a day. A recent hand injury that was related, at least in part, to his training and swing speed raised questions about how his body will hold up if he continues to swing as hard as necessary to maintain his golf advantage. distance. He reportedly received at least $100 million up front to join LIV. The former physics student at SMU can do math.
LIV players who had already qualified for the Open were allowed to play this year because the series started just a week earlier, and USGA officials didn’t think it would be fair to change course at such a late stage. At the same time, the association’s new CEO, Mike Whan, did not promise that the national championship would always welcome LIV golfers. When asked about LIV, he said that he was personally “sad” about the split in the game, later adding that he “could [I] Can you imagine a day when it would be more difficult for some people who do different things to get into a US Open? I could. Will that be true? I don’t know, but I can definitely foresee that day.”
Over the weekend, LIV CEO Greg Norman said his series would apply for recognition in the Official World Golf Ranking points system on Monday, which, if approved, could allow LIV players the opportunity to obtain exemptions to play in all four majors, as well as other events. Of course, the lack of competitive events against other high-ranking players could see LIV golfers playing their way out of the majors.
For now, the dramatic focus of golf shifts to Portland, where LIV will play the first of its five US events on June 30, then the British Open, which takes place in St. Andrews from July 20-23. Leaders of the R&A, which runs the British event, are expected to follow the lead of the USGA for similar reasons.
Perhaps the only person in golf who isn’t curious about what happens next is Fitzpatrick, who is once again busy celebrating in Boston and figuring out how to spend $3 million.