The last time Shinnecock played host to the Open in 2004, South Africa’s Retief Goosen won with a four-under par, 276, beating Phil Mickelson by two. Goosen and Mickelson were tied heading into the 17th hole. Mickelson’s tee shot on the par-three 17th landed in a greenside bunker and he three-putt for double-bogey. Goosen parred the 17th and 18th holes to win his second U.S. Open title.
The U.S. Open is the only Major championship Mickelson hasn’t won. The 47-year-old finished as a runner-up in six U.S. Opens and will be attempt to complete the career grand slam at Shinnecock come June.
U.S. Open Championship Coming Back to LI
In the 1995 U.S. Open at Shinnecock, Corey Pavin beat Greg Norman by two strokes, ending up with an even par 280 for the win. And in 1986, Raymond Floyd, who has since become a Shinnecock member, beat Chip Beck and Lanny Wadkins by two with a one under par, 279. The first Open hosted by Shinnecock, in 1896, was won by Scotsman James Foulis.
The U.S. Open this June promises to be as exciting as ever. Some of the game’s best young talent have never experienced Shinnecock. 2015 U.S. Open champ Jordan Spieth and 2017’s PGA Champion and Player of the Year Justin Thomas, both 24, have the all-around games required to win there.
2016 U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson and 2011 champ Rory McIlroy are always dangerous with their length off the tee. “The way the course is set up, with the fairways on the wider side than we normally play them, will allow the players to hit driver if they want,” Druga said. “The young player of today is pretty aggressive. They must be straight off the tee. The guys who feel comfortable enough to attack the course will do well.”
Patrick Reed, who was unflappable when he won the Masters in April, could get in that zone again. U.S. Open defending champion Brooks Koepka has been dealing with a wrist injury. Three-time champion Tiger Woods continues his comeback after four back surgeries, but his memories of the two U.S. Opens he’s played at Shinnecock could be better. It includes withdrawing in 1995 as the reigning U.S. Amateur Champion after injuring his wrist while attempting to hit out of the tall fescue, and finishing tied for 17th in 2004.