No, you won’t see Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka square off in the same group for the first two rounds of the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. Despite the sports world salivating over the thought of golf’s favorite feud as a centerpiece to this week’s first- and second-round Open coverage, the USGA decided to stick closely with the formula it always has.
In fact, the way tee times are spaced out, DeChambeau and Koepka may hardly see each other those first two days. Koepka starts on the 10th hole at 10:29 a.m. ET on Thursday, while DeChambeau kicks off his first round on the 1st hole at 4:14 p.m ET. They’ll be in opposite waves again come Friday. So, while we won’t see Bryson and Brooks in the same group just yet — perhaps this weekend? — we will see several other interesting trios. Here are the eight best, ranked … subjectively.
The 8 best U.S. Open groupings, ranked (all times ET)
8. Tony Finau, Abraham Ancer, Daniel Berger (11:02 a.m. Rd. 1; 4:47 p.m. Rd. 2)
Three solid sleeper picks.
7. Tyler Strafaci, Hideki Matsuyama, Bryson DeChambeau (4:14 p.m. Rd. 1; 10:29 a.m. Rd. 2)
DeChambeau, the defending U.S. Open champ, headlines a grouping that consists of the reigning Masters champ and reigning U.S. Amateur winner. A comfortable grouping for DeChambeau, much more so than it might have been had he been put with Koepka.
6. Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson (4:25 p.m. Rd. 1; 10:40 a.m. Rd. 2)
Three Masters champs from three different countries. Two of them are known to run a little hot on the golf course. The other is Adam Scott.
5. Marc Leishman, Jon Rahm, Patrick Reed (4:36 p.m. Rd. 1; 10:51 a.m. Rd. 2)
What do these three all have in common? They all won at Torrey Pines via the Farmers Insurance Open, meaning they should all be fashionable picks to do it again. Reed won just a handful of months ago (although another storyline stole the show that week), Leishman won in 2020 (beating Rahm by one), and Rahm was the 2017 champ. Rahm might be the favorite this week, given his success at Torrey Pines and recent form. He was cruising at the Memorial two weeks ago before a positive Covid-19 test sidelined him for the final round.
4. Will Zalatoris, Scottie Scheffler, Jordan Spieth (4:25 p.m. Rd. 1; 10:40 a.m. Rd. 2)
The Texans! Scheffler has four top-20 finishes (and two top 10s) in the last four majors he’s played, Zalatoris became America’s sweetheart last April in Augusta, and Jordan Spieth has officially returned to Jordan Spieth status. Remember last year’s U.S. Open at Winged Foot? Spieth was lost. Now? Oh, how things have changed.
3. Max Homa, Xander Schauffele, Phil Mickelson (10:51 a.m. Rd. 1; 4:36 p.m. Rd. 2)
The SoCal kids! Homa has climbed to World No. 40, Xander seems like the next-best player destined to win a major every time a new one rolls around, and Phil is, well, Phil. He’s coming off a PGA Championship title and is now, one might think, playing with house money knowing he’s got that sixth major title in his back pocket. Let’s hear it for the hometown favorites.
2. Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose (4:36 p.m. Rd. 1; 10:51 a.m. Rd. 2)
A big-time favorite, a star well overdue for his next major title and one sneaky-good sleeper pick. Rose was the 2019 Farmers winner.
1. Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka (10:29 a.m. Rd. 1; 4:14 p.m. Rd. 2)
No Bryson, no problem. This ball-strikers paradise is the headliner for the first two rounds. The last time Morikawa played a major on the West Coast (2020 PGA Championship) he won it, which gives him as many major titles at Thomas, who also won the Players a few months ago. Then there is Koepka, coming off a missed cut, who has never backed down in a major. Oh, and there’s also that little storyline he has brewing with Bryson. Game on.