Today marks the start of the 123rd U.S. Open Championship on the North Course of the Los Angeles Country Club. The best golfers in the world will battle for the largest purse in the event’s history. This year’s purse is a momentous $20 million, up from $17.5 million in 2022, leaving the winner walking away with $3.6 million on Sunday.
The U.S. Open is unlike any other major sporting event, allowing the dreamers a chance to play. The "open" part of the U.S. Open means that anyone can try and qualify to play in the event. This year, a record 10,187 golfers submitted an entry to play, and after several stages of qualifying, only 156 will tee it up. CEO of USGA, Mike Whan, highlights the tournament's uniqueness saying "You know, nobody comes to you six months before the Super Bowl and says, 'We're about to do some combines and if you're a good enough receiver – you play.’”
The tournament begins after the shocking announcement that the PGA Tour — during a bitter antitrust lawsuit with LIV Golf and having stood its ground on legacy and the source of LIV money — has agreed to partner with the Saudi Arabia wealth fund that pays for LIV Golf.
There are concerns about where the media focus will be, similar to last year’s U.S. Open in Boston, which started on the heels of a LIV event. Regardless of the noise and inevitable confusion, Whan believes the announcement of the merger and the drama surrounding it will take a back seat to this week’s U.S. Open Championship.
The effect that the PGA – LIV merger will have on the tournament is still unknown. For now, all the golf world can do is sit back and enjoy while we wait for a new champion to emerge and etch their name in the U.S. Open Championship Trophy.
Madelyn Feyko is a Rising 2L at Hofstra Law and the Vice President of the Sports and Entertainment Law Society. She can be found on LinkedIn at the following link: https://www.linkedin.com/in/madelyn-feyko-8942b520a/