Summer is upon us, and that can only mean one thing: It’s golf season! For more than 120 years the world’s top golfers have flocked to the US Open to participate in what is now the second of the four major championships in golf. While the golf world gears up for the big tourney, it’s time for the rest of us to bone up on how the whole operation works.

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What is the US Open?

Not to be confused with the tennis championship of the same name, the United States Open Championship is the annual golf tournament held each June. Since 1895, it has been held every year except during the World War years of the 1910s and 1940s. It’s come a long way from the original nine-hole playoff in its first year to become the massive 72-hole event with millions of dollars at stake.

When and Where Will the US Open Be Held?

The tournament is held every June, and this year (2018) will keep the tradition going. Kicking off on Flag Day, June 14, it will take place over the subsequent weekend, finishing up on Father’s Day, June 17. This year, it will be held at Shinnecock Hills Golf Course, way out on the eastern end of Long Island, some 90 miles from New York City. This will be the fifth time the US Open has taken place at Shinnecock.

How is the US Open Structured?

Like the majority of golf championships, this one will be 72 holes, consisting of four rounds on an 18-hole course. Shinnecock Hills is a relatively long course at 7,445 yards, so players will have to bring their long game. The first round tees off on Friday morning, with the second and third on Saturday. Sunday will feature the grand finale while everybody suddenly remembers to grab their dad a necktie and matching socks at the last minute.

What’s New in 2018?

The biggest change to this year’s tournament is in the tiebreaker format. Instead of a full playoff round culminating in sudden death holes if needed, this year will feature a two-hole aggregate round, hopefully making the process much more bearable for players and fans alike. If after two rounds the players are still tied, it will immediately go to a sudden death format.

How Do I Get There?

Well, if you are really good at golf, you still have a shot at qualifying if you have won any of a number of local or regional tournaments. Barring that, you may have to just attend as a spectator. Tickets for the practice rounds start at less than $20, with tournament tickets starting at just over $100.


And while the location may seem a little out there, it is surprisingly convenient, with the Long Island Railroad offering direct service from the Big Apple on their train–and if you choose to drive out it’s a fun drive with lots of scenery and wineries. Any way you get there, it’s a great way to spend Flag Day, Father’s Day, and whatever that Saturday in between is. Global Wind Day, I guess?