Here comes the third Major of 2021 with the first (The Masters) having gone to Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, and the second (PGA Championship) to veteran Phil Mickelson, oldest Major winner ever.
With that as the background, here are the main story lines to follow:
The test of Torrey
The U.S. Open will be played at Torrey Pines Golf Course for the second time and first since 2008, when Tiger Woods defeated Rocco Mediate in a 19-hole playoff. 14 players in the 2008 field who will compete in 2021. Torrey Pines is home to the Farmers Insurance Open, won in 2021 by Patrick Reed (only Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have won a PGA TOUR event and U.S. Open at the same venue in the same season).
Mickelson making major moves:
The 2021 PGA Championship winner and San Diego native Phil Mickelson, who turns 51 on Wednesday, June 16, became the oldest major winner in history when he won his sixth major at Kiawah in May. Mickelson, a three-time winner of the Farmers Insurance Open, would become the sixth player to compete the career Grand Slam (record six runner-up finishes to date).
DeChambeau set to defend:
Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau won the 2020 U.S. Open in September at Winged Foot Golf Club. Entering the week at No. 2 in the FedExCup standings, DeChambeau seeks to become eighth player to successfully defend U.S. Open title (most recent: Brooks Koepka, 2018).
Schauffele the San Diego native:
Xander Schauffele finished T2 at the 2021 Farmers Insurance Open, his best finish in six starts and just the second time he made the cut. Schauffele has six top-fives in 16 career major starts.
Koepka goes for No. 5:
Four-time major champion and two-time U.S. Open winner Brooks Koepka is coming off a missed cut in his most recent PGA TOUR start (Palmetto Championship at Congaree), but also missed the cut at the AT&T Byron Nelson the week before his runner-up at last month’s PGA Championship.
Return of Rahm:
During his title defense at the Memorial Tournament two weeks ago, Jon Rahm was up by six strokes when he was forced to withdraw after 54 holes due to a positive COVID-19 test. Rahm has been medically cleared to play and will seek his first major win at the site of first PGA TOUR victory (2017 Farmers Insurance Open).