Tour Confidential: Who, or what, has been the biggest surprise at the U.S. Open?

Max homa tees off on friday

Hometown favorite Max Homa's opening 68 was followed by a second-round 76 to miss the cut.

Getty Images

Check in each day of this week’s U.S. Open for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors as they break down the hottest topic in the tournament, and join the conversation by tweeting us @golf_com.

We’re officially at the midway point of the 2023 U.S. Open, with Rickie Fowler leading and a handful of other big names chasing. Who, or what, has been the biggest surprise so far at Los Angeles Country Club?

Jessica Marksbury, senior editor (@Jess_Marksbury): It’s Rory for me. I know he was one of the favorites, but it feels like it’s been a while since he’s really contended at a major from start to finish. There’s usually a poor round at the beginning that causes him to play catch-up, which he has a knack for doing incredibly well! I was astounded to look at his major finishes since his PGA win in 2014 and count 18 top 10s. I mean, wow! But having the chance to see him so firmly in the mix right out of the gate and now here at the halfway point — after playing alongside Brooks Koepka for two days! — is awesome, and a very pleasant surprise indeed. I hope he can keep it going.

Josh Sens, senior writer (@joshsens): I know that Justin Thomas has been struggling, but it’s still something of a shocker to see him T152 in a major, beating only two guys in the field.

Jack Hirsh, assistant editor, (@JR_HIRSHey): This major was tailor-made for Max Homa. Back in his hometown, owns the course record, already had picked up two wins this season. He even opened Thursday with a 68 to be right in the thick of it. Instead he made three doubles (including on 17 and 18) to miss the cut. You have to wonder if the pressure to finally get his first top 10 in a major, plus the stress of playing in front of so many friends and family, became too much.

Josh Berhow, managing editor (@Josh_Berhow): How about two? That Rickie Fowler didn’t just flash on Thursday, but he stayed atop the leaderboard to keep that 36-hole lead. Fowler still has a ton of star power, and if he’s in contention on Sunday it’s going to be a lot of fun. As for No. 2: I’m surprised we aren’t talking more about Scottie Scheffler. A quiet 67 and a quiet 68 and he’s just five shots off the lead. That’s a really good spot with lots of golf left to be played.

James Colgan, news and features editor (@jamescolgan26): Rickie! Rickie!!! Rickie!!!!! Last year, he was qualifying into this tournament. Today he’s the 36-hole leader. It’s Rickie Fowler and it’s not even CLOSE. I just hope the surprise continues into the weekend.

generic profile image