US Open: How to watch first golf major since shock PGA Tour and LIV Golf partnership

A tournament of two big firsts gets underway at the 123rd US Open on Thursday.

For the first time in its illustrious 126-year history, California’s iconic Los Angeles Country Club plays host to a major championship.

It’s also the first major since the golfing world was rocked by the announcement of a partnership between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, and LIV Golf earlier this month. The fallout from the shock news has continued in California, with players peppered by questions surrounding the reconciliation of the warring tours.

World No. 2 Jon Rahm spoke of the “betrayal” felt by PGA Tour players following the “bombshell” announcement, expressing his discomfort at the perceived lack of clarity and unanswered questions surrounding the deal.

However, one of the partnership’s primary architects, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, was not on site to respond as he recuperates from a medical situation. Monahan has been relieved of day-to-day duties while he recovers, the PGA Tour announced Tuesday.

While developments around the unification continue to rumble on, the US Open will be a chance for the golf to take center stage as Matt Fitzpatrick seeks to become the first player to defend the US Open trophy since Brooks Koepka in 2018.

The Englishman clinched his first major title in thrilling fashion in Massachusetts a year ago, edging American duo Scottie Scheffler and Will Zalatoris by a single stroke following a pulsating three-way fight in the final round.

Meanwhile, Koepka is chasing a back-to-back feat of his own. The LIV Golf star is bidding for a consecutive major title after a brilliant victory at the PGA Championship in New York last month. It was his fifth major and completed a long-awaited return to the sport’s summit.

A strong field will be out to deny the American, with world No. 1 Scheffler, 2023 Masters champion Rahm and four-time major champion Rory McIlroy among the favorites to beat Koepka to the title.

Three-time US Open champion Tiger Woods will not be among those teeing up, the 47-year-old withdrawing last month as he continues to recover from recent surgery on his ankle.

How to watch

Viewers in the US can watch Thursday and Friday’s opening rounds from 9:40 a.m. ET on Peacock before coverage switches to USA Network (1 p.m. to and then NBC (8 p.m. to 11 p.m.).

The weekend’s closing two rounds will be broadcast on NBC from 1 p.m. ET to 11 p.m ET, with streaming options also available on the US Open website.

UK viewers can follow the action via Sky Sports Golf, which will begin coverage of the first two rounds from 3 p.m. BST. Saturday’s broadcast is slated to begin at 6 p.m BST, with Sunday’s final round shown from 5.30 p.m BST.

For more information on how to watch, check the US Open website.

Fitzpatrick primed for title defense

Victory at last year’s tournament announced Fitzpatrick’s arrival on golf’s biggest stage.

Before his pulsating triumph at Brookline, the Sheffield-born golfer had starred at both the amateur level and on the DP World Tour but had yet to get over the line in a PGA Tour event.

Fitzpatrick ended that wait emphatically, not scoring above par in any of his four rounds to hold off Scheffler and Zalatoris. After a second PGA Tour victory at the RBC Heritage in April earlier this year, the world No. 8 touches down in Los Angeles as one of the field’s most feared names.

“Winning last year gave me the boost that when I played my best or when I play well I can compete with anyone and I can win a major,” Fitzpatrick told reporters Wednesday.

“That was the biggest thing for me to take away turning up to events, knowing that, ‘Okay, my game feels in good shape. I’ve got a chance to win this week,’ whereas maybe previously I’ve almost felt like I played well and not necessarily competed in majors, whereas now I feel like it’s kind of the opposite.

“As long as my game is there or thereabouts, I feel like I can perform.”

Koepka targeting double digit majors

A successful defense would see Fitzpatrick replicate Koepka’s feat, and the Englishman would surely love to follow the career trajectory of the American, five years his senior at 33.

Koepka arrives in California chasing a sixth major championship and riding a wave of form not seen since the era of dominance that saw him clinch back-to-back pairs of PGA Championship and US Open titles in an unprecedented stretch between 2017 and 2019.

Triumph at the PGA Championship avenged a runner-up finish at The Masters to Rahm a month prior, as Koepka held off a final round challenge from Norway’s Viktor Hovland to lift his third Wanamaker Trophy.

After injuries and loss of form had compounded a grueling fall from the upper echelons of the sport, the victory was Koepka’s favorite yet.

“For all the stuff I had to deal with, all the pain, the tears, all the stuff that went into it,” he told reporters Wednesday.

“There’s probably five, seven people in this whole world that really know what I went through and that were there every step of the way. I think they enjoyed it maybe even more than I did.”

Yet Koepka is leaving the door open for plenty more favorites. A minimum of four more majors is the aim as he looks to join Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Walter Hagen as the only men’s golfers to win 10 or more.

“Double digits, that’s what I’m trying to get to,” he said.

“I don’t think it’s out of the question for me. I think the way I’ve prepared, the way I’ve kind of suited my game for these things is going to help me.

“I’m only 33, so I’ve definitely got quite a bit of time. I’ve just got to stay healthy and keep doing what I’m doing.”

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