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US Open Golf 2022 preview: Australians Cameron Smith, Marc Leishman in the mix at ‘ridiculous’ course, how to watch, contenders

The US Open gets underway tonight and several Aussies are in the mix for one of the most lucrative prize pools in golf.

A hotly anticipated US Open gets underway tonight, with several major winners and Aussies in contention at an extremely challenging golf course.

The US Golf Association has allowed players from the rebel Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series to compete, instead of banning them like the US PGA Tour did.

As a result, the likes of Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau will be among the LIV stars teeing off in a quest for a major title in the first LIV-PGA showdown.

Watch every round of The 2022 US Open Live & On-Demand 17-20 June with FOX SPORTS on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >

The US Open is being held at the Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts — a course with shorter holes but dense rough and smaller greens.

“The golf course requires a golfer that’s really boring and someone that hits it really straight and really good iron play,” Fox Sports golf expert and host of Your Golf Show Paul Gow told news.com.au.

“The golf course is not for someone that’s a long hitter. It’s for someone that can map their way around the golf course.

“My pick (to win) is Patrick Cantlay. He’s been thereabouts in majors, he’s won golf tournaments on the US tour. He’s one of those methodical type of players and that’s what this golf course requires.

“My next best is Matt Fitzpatrick, who’s No. 17 in the world, a 28-year-old from England.

“He’s just one of those guys who gets better every year.”

Aussie contenders who can win

The short game of players will be key on the shorter holes, which favors Australian Cameron Smith, who goes in as one of the favourites.

“The short game is everything,” Gow said.

“That’s why Cam Smith is right in the thick of things because he’s got the best short game in the world.

“Cam Smith likes this stage. He’s had a bunch of top fives at the majors, second at the Masters this year, fourth at the US Open in 2015 at Chambers Bay — that’s where he really came into his own, that’s where we started to know who Cam Smith was.

“And he’s a gritty type of player. He’s put a new driver in the bag this week and if he puts the ball on the fairway, we know how good his iron play is and his short game is renowned as the best in the world now.

“His chipping, putting and pitching will come to the forefront and it showed at the Players Championship when he got that one up and down on the last, which was pretty sensational.”

Gow also believes fellow Aussie Marc Leishman could be a smokey to claim a breakthrough major win this weekend.

“He’s driving the ball well, his iron play is great,” he said.

“Contrary to what people think, his golf this year has been really solid without being fantastic. “It just comes down to a few putts here and there and if he can hole some putts, watch out. And at 125-1, it’s probably a good bet.”

Stars looking to break major drought

PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas is one of the favourites, as is four-time major winner Rory McIlroy.

The 33-year-old hasn’t won a major since 2014 but has recently rediscovered his best form, winning at the Canadian Open last week.

“That will be the interesting part. What confidence he will take from that, how much energy that took out of him for this week because a US Open week takes a lot of energy,” said Gow, who contested two US Opens.

“You’ve got to be patient and reserve your energy for day four, so it’ll be interesting to see how he manages that and to see how much pressure he’s put on himself to win another major.

“He’s been around a long time. Back in 2014 it looked like he was unstoppable and was going to win 10 majors. I expect him to play well. I’m not quite sure if he’s going to win.”

Meanwhile, Jordan Spieth left pre-tournament practice early with illness but the American looms as a dangerous contender.

“We thought his game was gone two years ago but he’s back,” Gow said.

“He’s winning events, he’s contending every week and his putting is back.

“I wouldn’t count him out. Always beware of the sick golfer or the injured golfer because their expectations are lower. If he starts holing putts, we know he can win majors.”

‘Ridiculous’ course to challenge world’s best

Gow describes the Country Club in Brookline as a typical US Open course “that sits on the edge of ridiculous”.

“It’s extremely hard,” he said.

“It’s long, the greens are firm, they’re upside down saucers and it’s difficult. Over by wins the golf tournament. That’s how they differ themselves from the Masters, the Open championship and the PGA championship.

“It’s a shorter golf course, the rough is still up, the greens are a lot smaller but they don’t have as much undulation. There’s a lot of blind shots. It’s a rugged type of golf course.

“I expect players that are good with their irons, straight hitters, they’ll be in contention.

“The color contrast that we’ll see from the rough to the fairways to the bunkers to the greens will look great on Fox Sports.”

How to watch the US Open

The US Open is live and exclusive in HD on Fox Sports and Kayo, the only place to see all four golf majors live.

All the action is shown on a dedicated pop up channel, Fox Sports 503. The channel will broadcast 60 hours of live US Open coverage, including all four rounds and the feature groups shown live.

The channel is also showing classic final rounds from the US Open.

What’s the prize money?

A record purse of A$25 million is up for grabs at the US Open, with the winner to take home a whopping A$5 million.

Aussie Round 1 Tee Times

Thursday

9:29pm – Adam Scott, Jordan Spieth, Max Homa

10:02pm – Marc Leishman, Keegan Bradley, Aaron Wise

friday

2:30am – Jed Morgan, Taylor Montgomery, Sean Crocker

3:25am – Min Woo Lee, Seamus Power, Joohyung Kim

3:25am – Cameron Smith, Brooks Koepka, Scottie Scheffler

4:09am – Lucas Herbert, Harris English, Jason Kokrak

4:21am – Todd Sinnott, Jonas Blixt, Bo Hoag

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