Dustin Johnson faces tough test in US Open

14th June 2017

Erin Hills will stage its first major championship as Dustin Johnson seeks to retain his US Open crown.

Having spent the Masters sitting uncomfortably on the sidelines nursing his bruises after falling down the stairs, world number one Dustin Johnson will be treading carefully as he starts the defence of the US Open title at Erin Hills, Wisconsin this week.
When Johnson tees off on Thursday (June 15th), he will be aiming to make history by becoming the first man to successfully defend the title since Curtis Strange in 1989. Strange was himself the first man to win the event in successive years since Ben Hogan in 1951, so Johnson is aiming at a quite exceptional feat.
This is not a result of playing on a different course each year: after all, the Masters is played at the same Augusta National venue every year, but that has only seen one man - Tiger Woods - retaining the title since Nick Faldo's wins of 1989 and 1990. Ultimately, it all comes down to the incredible standard of competition.
Johnson will certainly face some stern opposition. Just a couple of years ago, Jordan Spieth was expected to be the man sweeping the board as he won two majors in his first year, while before him Rory McIlroy was expected to be the greatest player since Woods was in his prime. Golf fans will reflect that this is an era where there is plenty of outstanding talent without any one dominant player, providing for some exceptionally exciting events.
The champion will be teeing off with two of his biggest rivals for the title, 2015 winner Spieth and 2014 champion Martin Kaymer. McIlroy, the 2011 winner, will tee off later alongside 2013 winner and Olympic champion Justin Rose as well as Australian Jason Day, who may have mixed feelings about playing alongside the British pair, both of whom he finished runner-up to.
Fans will also be watching out for other big names like Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson, Adam Scott, Lee Westwood, Ross Fisher and 2010 US Open winner Graeme McDowell.
History is sure to be made one way or another and that will thrust Erin Hills into the spotlight. Indeed, future visitors may be very keen to see and play the course that staged the 2017 championship.
For visitors to St Andrews, history is what it's all about. Whatever happens in Wisconsin this week, there can be no doubt that the home of golf will always be its most historic, famous and glamorous venue. It is to golf what Wimbledon is to tennis, and those visiting Scotland from all over the world might want to take the chance to enjoy the Experience St Andrews.
Like Scotland, Wisconsin has plenty of scenery that has been distinctly shaped by the ice from thousands of years ago. Erin Hills lies in an area known as the Kettle Moraine, with undulating glacial deposits providing plenty of threats and opportunities for players.
While venues like Oakmont and Brookline have staged many majors, this is the first time one has been played at Erin Hills. Having been under the ice for millennia, it now gets its time in the summer sun. It just remains now to see who keeps ice-cool in the heat of competition.