First staged back in 1895 and won by Englishman, Horace Rawlins, who picked up a whopping $150 after posting a 36-hole total of 173 (rounds of 91 and 82), the US Open has been a 72-hole stroke play event since 1898.
The US Open is a nomadic championship staged by the often heavily criticised United States Golf Association. It used to follow the US Masters as the second major of the year but after a reworking of the PGA Tour schedule in 2019, which saw the US PGA Championship moved from August to May, it's now the third of four.
This year's US Open is the 122nd edition and it returns to the Country Club, Brookline, Massachusetts, for the first time since Curtis Strange beat Nick Faldo in an 18-hole playoff in 1988. Strange shot level par to Faldo's +4 after the two had finished tied on six-under-par after 72 holes.
The US Open has been staged at Brookline on two other occasions, back in 1913 and 1963.
The Open Course, the Country Club, Brookline, Massachusetts
Par 70, 7,264 yards
Brookline was the scene of the notorious 1999 Ryder Cup, when the night before they came back from 10-6 down to win 14 ½ to 13 ½, the USA Captain, Ben Crenshaw, wagged his finger and uttered the infamous line, "I have a good feeling about this."
It was also the host course for the 2013 US Amateur, which was won by Matt Fitzpatrick, but we haven't seen major championship action at Brookline since 1988.
Founded as far back as 1882, the Country Club added a six-hole golf course, designed by Willie Campbell, in 1893 and that was soon expanded to make up two nine holes courses called the Clyde and the Squirrel. And in 1927, William Flynn added another nine-hole course called the Primrose.
Flynn did some work on the original 18 as well, and Rees Jones also made some alterations ahead of the 1988 U.S. Open. This week's venue is a composite of the three courses.
As was the case with last month's US PGA Championship venue, Southern Hills, the Country Club Course has undergone an extensive renovation by Gill Hanse and his team.
With an eye firmly on history and on the courses' original designs, Hanse has removed a lot of trees and to provide a few extra pin placements, he's increased the size of a number of the Bentgrass greens, although they're still very small, averaging around 4,800 square feet.
Nestled perfectly within the rocky terrain, there are a number of blind shots on the course and with its wild fescue rough and 'chocolate drop' hillocks, errant shots may well be punished unfairly on occasions this week.
At nearly 7,300 yards, it's long for a par 70 with only two par fives - the eighth and the 14th.
For more on the course, the official website's hole-by-hole guide here is well worth watching and The Fried Egg's video interview with Hanse below is excellent. We're most definitely in for a treat.
Live on Sky Sports all four days, beginning at 13:00 on Thursday.
Last Ten Winners with Pre-event Exchange Prices
2021 - Jon Rahm -6 12.011/1
2020 - Bryson DeChambeau -6 30.029/1
2019 - Gary Woodland -13 110.0109/1
2018 - Brooks Koepka +1 34.033/1
2017 - Brooks Koepka -16 60.059/1
2016 - Dustin Johnson -4 17.016/1
2015 - Jordan Spieth -5 11.010/1
2014 - Martin Kaymer -9 50.049/1
2013 - Justin Rose +1 28.027/1
2012 - Webb Simpson +1 100.099/1
What Will it Take to Win the US Open?
We've had a couple of instances over the last decade or so when the set-up has not met with the expected weather and it's given us a winning score that we're just not used to seeing at a US Open.
After the 16-under-par Rory McIlroy romp at rain-soaked Congressional 11 years ago, the next two winning scores were over-par, suggesting that the USGA didn't want a repeat, and following Brooks Koepka's low-scoring demolition at Erin Hills five years ago, again with a record-equalling -16 total, when the expected Wisconsin winds were non-existent, the USGA toughened things up a bit too much at Shinnecock and we got another over-par winning score.
Jon Rahm won the title in -6 last year after this stunning finish and he ticked off a number of trends.
Although it's a nomadic event, played at different courses every year, because the USGA tend to set-up the courses similarly tough, an analysis of the statistics is still a worthwhile exercise, so here are the average rankings of the last ten US Open winners in all the traditional main categories.
Driving Accuracy - 22.4
Driving Distance - 17
G.I.R - 5.5
Scrambling - 9.3
Putting Average - 17.6
Rahm ranked 13th for Driving Distance and 32nd for Driving Accuracy last year and that was typical. A straight and lengthy long game is ideal, but length is more important than accuracy, despite all the scaremongering we'll no doubt hear and see before the off about the brutality of the rough.
US Open rough is nearly always penal and the fairways narrow, but even the most accurate drivers will stray from the short grass at some stage and when they do, they'll usually be too far back to have a chance of rescuing par. In contrast, the big hitters will be closer to the green and will have a better chance of saving themselves. They'll also have the advantage of going in with much shorter irons when they do find the fairway and nobody has ever highlighted that better than Bryson DeChambeau at Winged Foot in 2020.
Bryson averaged 325.6 yards off the tee (the highest ever measured by a US Open champion) but he hit just 22 fairways throughout the entire week.
The stats are clear. Only four winners in the last 18 years have ranked higher for accuracy off the tee than they have for length and 13 of the last 18 winners have ranked inside the top-ten for DD, compared to just four inside the top-ten for DA. It really does make sense to favour length over accuracy at this major.
To win a US Open you need to find plenty of greens and scramble well when you don't.
As the averages show, Greens In Regulation and Scrambling are the two main stats to consider as the last three results have highlighted perfectly.
Rahm ranked fourth for GIR and third for Scrambling, DeChambeau ranked fifth for GIR and third for Scrambling in 2020 and three years ago, Gary Woodland ranked second for GIR and first for Scrambling.
There have only been Strokes Gained figures produced for the last three US Opens but far and away the most important metric there has been SG: Tee-to-Green...
Rahm ranked fifth last year and the top-ten in the SGT2G rankings all finished inside the top-12, the first and second in 2020, DeChambeau and Matthew Wolff, ranked first and second, and the top-eight in 2019 ranked sixth, first, third, fourth, 19th, 24th, fifth and 43rd.
The three winners have ranked only fourth, 20th and 21st for SG: Putting so that's broadly in-line with the Putting Average stats and it highlights that this major is not all about putting.
What Can We Expect From Brookline?
With its tiny and treacherous greens, we can expect the stats that have been important over the last decade in this championship- Greens In Regulation and Scrambling - to be vital again and they're the ones to concentrate on.
Is There an Identikit Winner?
The US Open produces its fair share of event specialists - remember Andy North? He only ever won three PGA Tour events and two of them were US Opens! Jeff Maggert only won three PGA Tour events too and none of them majors but between 1994 and 1999 he finished inside the top-ten in this championship four times.
Brooks Koepka missed the 2020 edition through injury but he's finished first, first, second and fourth in his last four US Opens and Strange won the 1989 US Open at Oak Hill, 12 months after winning here.
It's very easy to concentrate too hard on previous major champions whenever we start looking at form for any major championship but it's odds-on that the winner won't have tasted major success before if recent history can be believed.
Justin Thomas won the US PGA Championship last month but two PGA Tour maidens, Will Zalatoris and Mito Pereira, both traded at long odds-on before Thomas lifted the Wanamaker Trophy for a second time and 18 of the last 27 majors have now gone to a first-time major winner. And if we look at this major in isolation, five of the last six were breaking their major duck.
Don't be surprised if we get another first-time winner but do expect them to feature fairly highly in the Official World Rankings because 40 of the last 41 majors have gone to someone inside the top-50. Phil Mickelson's shock win at last year's US PGA Championship is the odd one out.
Will the Canadian Open prove to be a good warm-up event?
It's never easy to know what tactic to employ in the week before a major. To play or not to play, that is the question.
Justin Thomas warmed up for the US PGA Championship with a fifth placed finish in the Byron Nelson Championship but after winning his third event in five starts at the WGC Match Play, Scottie Scheffler took a week off to prepare for the US Masters before he claimed his first major.
As Dave Tindall highlights in his brilliant US Open 10-year trends piece here, the last three, and seven of the last ten winners, all took the week off before winning this major so recent history suggests well rested and raring to go is the way to go but I'm not convinced.
St. Georges, the host course for this week's Canadian Open, is a wonderful classical course, described by the architect responsible for it's recent renovation, Ian Andrew, as "the best in Canada" and with it's thick and penal rough, the event organisers have had one eye on the US Open, well aware that the players want a similar test and I certainly wouldn't be put off backing someone here because they've teed it up in Canada.
Last Seven Winner's Position and Exchange Price Pre-Round Four
2021 - Jon Rahm - tied sixth, trailing by three 13.012/1
2020 - Bryson DeChambeau - solo second, trailing by two 3.55/2
2019 - Gary Woodland - led by one stroke 3.1511/5
2018 - Brooks Koepka - tied for the lead with three others 5.59/2
2017 - Brooks Koepka - trailing by one 5.59/2
2016 - Dustin Johnson - trailing by four 4.84/1
2015 - Jordan Spieth - tied for the lead with three others 3.3512/5
This major tends to be an almighty grind, making headway up the leaderboard as the week progresses is incredibly tough, and up with the pace is where you need to be in a US Open.
Rahm sat tied for sixth and three off the lead with a round to go last year but that was as far back as he'd been all week long and most winners are in the van throughout.
The 2021 winner, DeChambeau, sat second after rounds two and three and he was the seventh US Open winner in-a-row, and the 11th in 13 years, to sit first or second with a round to go.
The last 23 US Opens have been won by someone within four strokes of the lead with a round to go.
Lee Janzen trailed by five at the Olympic Club in 1998 but he was only tied for fourth and his cause was helped considerably by the poor final round by the late great, Payne Stewart, who had led by three through 54 holes.
Looking back to the 1988 US Open here, Strange was two off the lead and tied for ninth after round one, tied third and two adrift at halfway and in front, leading Faldo by a stroke, with a round to go.
I'll look at the past stats in plenty of detail the In-play Blog but concentrating on the leaders is the way to go.
At the time of writing, four of the first five in the betting here are all in action in the Canadian Open and all four are in-contention so prices will almost certainly fluctuate considerably by Monday morning.
World number one, Scottie Scheffler, has already won four tournaments this year, including a major and it really should have been five.
After cooling off a bit following his win at Augusta (missed the cut at the US PGA!), Scheffler led the Charles Schwab Challenge with a round to go but a poor final round saw him caught by Sam Burns, who then beat him in extra time.
Scheffler's US Open form figures read MC-27-MC-7 but he's a different beast now and given he ranked first for all the key stats (SGT2G, GIR and Scrambling) at the Charles Schwab, and that he's back in-contention again this week, he's a very worthy favourite.
It's now 11 years since Rory McIlroy won the US Open (his first major) and it's eight year's since he won his fourth and last major (the US PGA Championship). As detailed above, Congressional was soaking wet and conditions weren't what we'd normal expect at this major when he won 11 years ago and since that victory, his form figures at this major read MC-41-23-9-MC-MC-MC-9-8-7.
Since finishing second to Scheffler at Augusta, Rory's produced form figures reading 2-5-8-18 so he's ticking along nicely but his Scrambling and SG: Around the Green numbers aren't great and given how close they are in the betting, Scheffler looks a far better bet.
The defending champ, Jon Rahm, picked up his first win since Torrey Pines in Mexico last month and he's elected to take this week off to prepare but he's not been at his sparkling best in 2022.
Strange (1988 & 89) and Koepka (2017 & 18) have both won back-to-back US Opens and tournament specialists are fairly common but defending majors is far from easy and the Spaniard would love to be in better form than he is.
Rahm's looking to win back-to-back US Opens and Justin Thomas is attempting to win back-to-back majors and depending on how he finishes up in Canada, he could be the one to side with.
His US Open form figures read a fairly uninspiring MC-32-9-25-MC-8-19 but he won't lack for confidence after last month's victory on a track that may have similarities with this one given Hanse's renovations of both.
With the Canadian Open still in progress, I'm highly likely to back at least one more before the off here, and I'll update the preview if I do.
I'll also have a couple of outsiders to trade with the Find Me a 100 Winner column on Monday or Tuesday but for now my sole selection so far is Max Homa.
The 31-year-old Californian has taken this week off to recharge the batteries but it's fair to say he was on fire on the last occasion we saw him play.
Homa's fifth at Memorial didn't come out of the blue given he won the Wells Fargo Championship for a second time in May and I thought he looked over-priced at 70.069/1.
Sam Burns @ 34.033/1 (see below)
Max Homa @ 70.069/1
Justin Rose @ 100.099/1 (see below)
As highlighted in the Canadian Open preview last week, there were plenty of changes in the US Open market during last week's event, with most of the contenders at St. Georges shortening up for this week's major.
Rory McIlroy was a 15.014/1 to win the US Open when the Canadian Open kicked off and it was still possible to back Justin Thomas at 16.015/1 last night as he made a move in round four. The pair now trade at 12.011/1 and 14.013/1.
I haven't backed either but if forced to pick one it would be Rory. He's held his form nicely on numerous occasions and his successful defence in Canada can only be viewed as a positive.
Rory won back-to-back FedEx Cup events in 2012 and when he won the last of his four major Championships - the 2014 US PGA Championship - he was winning his third event in-a-row.
Although Thomas is in fine form and in search of back-to-back majors, he's a better player coming from off the pace, as he did at Southern Hills last month, and as detailed above, this major usually goes to someone in the van throughout.
That may appear a very harsh assessment, but he made back-to-back bogeys at 17 and 18 yesterday, once he finally drew alongside Rory, and his last four wins have all been from off the pace. I'm not for a single second suggesting he's unreliable but he hasn't been quite the same rock-solid contender since blowing a four-stroke lead at Riviera in 2019 (traded at a low of 1.182/11) and he's just a shade short now.
Thomas was a juicy 40.039/1 shot when he trailed by seven with a round to go at the US PGA Championship and waiting to see where he sits after three rounds may be the best way to look to play him here too.
With four wins in 13 months (including two in his last six starts), 25-year-old Sam Burns ticks plenty of form and trend boxes this week and I was quite surprised to see his price hold up as last week's event played out.
The world number nine ranked first for Greens In Regulation when finishing tied for fourth in Canada and he looks a very fair price at 32.031/1.
Justin Rose finished fifth in his first US Open back in 2003 and ten years later he lifted the trophy. He's a classic US Open specialist and he's been a regular pre-event play in the tournament for me for many years. He finished third at Pebble Beach back in 2019 and following his fast finishing fourth on Sunday, he's trending very nicely ahead of Thursday's start.
Rose appears to be injury-free now and work on his long game with his short game coach, Jon Hearn, is paying dividends. I managed to get him onside at 100.099/1 while the Canadian Open was in progress but the 80.079/1 available now still looks fair.
I'll be back over the next few days with the Find Me a 100 Winner column and a look at the side markets.
*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter