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Johnson on course, opens with a par

Johnson on course, opens with a par

No one was happier than Rory McIlroy.

"It's been very fun the last couple of days". It also had one hole where spectators couldn't watch and others where they needed binoculars.

There's more to it than just length.

Dustin Johnson will start as favourite when the 117th US Open tees off here on Thursday, with forecasted rain expected to boost the world number one's big-hitting game at the brutal Erin Hills course in rural Wisconsin. For someone who grew up in Northern Ireland, he has the reputation of favoring benign conditions instead of firm, wind-whipped conditions.

However, Rory McIlroy who is now ranked number two in the world was visibly shocked when he was informed of the changes by reporters. Flanagan, who caddied for Price at Oakmont a year ago, will be playing at Erin Hills, while Price will take his turn carrying Flanagan's bag. There are two streaming options for the Open.

Jason Day leads a five-strong Australian contingent this week and the 29-year- old Queenslander is coming off a second-place finish at the Byron Nelson Classic in May and a 15th at the Memorial Tournament in Ohio. His 2017 major season didn't get off to a great start - he missed The Masters in April after injuring his back falling on some stairs - but should be in shape for the year's second major.

McIlroy is playing the Travelers Championship next week in CT.

Rory McIlroy at Erin Hills, Hartford, Wisconsin, June 12. He says he can swing and has full power.

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Balls that don't hit the unusually large fairways are at risk of being lost in the giant fescue garss that seems to grow exponentially with each time it rains, which it did Monday and Wednesday.

The unknown is how sharp he will be this week. "I just have to go out there and be free with it". "I don't see par winning the tournament", said Spieth. "I've still got some work to do to get back to when I was playing that good". "I have a feeling he'll be amped this week".

"So I don't know if that stuck with them or they thought the same thing", he said.

Mickelson added: "There's really just no way to make it, no matter what the tee time is".

Your No. 1 handicapping statistic in golf should be how a player has fared in the past at a certain layout.

That didn't stop Dustin Johnson from getting a few more cuts before his title defense.

For the first time in 25 years, the US Open course will be a par-72, moving away from the par-70s which are generally played at the championship. That sea of knee-high fescue bordering the fairways is just as treacherous as it looks on television. And keep a good attitude.

"A brand-new golf course limits any kind of experience players have", the two- time major victor said. "Everyone is going to run into some sort of trouble out there - everyone is. If you can put yourself in that mindset when you're playing, it helps a ton". Spieth won the tournament in 2015 and McIlroy did in 2011. "He's got a lot going for him with the year he's had and the way this course is".

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