LA Confidential – the scoop ahead of the 123rd US Open at L.A. Country Club

The 123rd US Open Championship heads West to California as Los Angeles Country Club hosts its maiden Major championship.

Ireland will have five representatives in a Major for the second time this season as U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Matthew McClean links up with Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry, Séamus Power and Pádraig Harrington, who earned a spot in the field courtesy of his U.S. Senior Open win last year.

There are many storylines to follow even without green tinted glasses.


Can Phil Mickelson finally complete the career-grand slam? The six-time runner-up has had a turbulent spell on and off the golf course since his 2021 PGA Championship win but a T2 finish at the Masters has reignited his chances.

Elite level golf has been scarce in L.A. over the years and the Country Club will be pastures new for many in the field, except for a sprinkling of Walker Cup players who contested the 2017 match at this very venue.

Scottie Scheffler and Collin Morikawa were part of the successful U.S. side six years ago and they will be hoping course knowledge can tip the scales in their favour as they hunt their maiden U.S. Open titles.

LACC: The Brief

Established in 1897, Los Angeles Country Club first opened as a nine-hole golf course called ‘The Windmill Links’. The golf club was deemed too restrictive for play in Spring 1899 but by 1911, the club re-opened as an 18-hole layout and now the country club boasts 36 holes.

LACC has a staggered history in hosting tournaments. Between 1926 and 1940 it hosted the Los Angeles Open on five occasions. The event has been held at Riviera Country Club on a near-continuous basis since 1973 and has adopted several names, including the current Genesis Invitational.

The club has also played host to the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship and the Walker Cup, while L.A. will welcome its first U.S. Open in 75 years this June.

2017 Walker Cup

Los Angeles Country Club’s first foray into modern golf so to speak came in 2017 when it played host to the 2017 Walker Cup contest between the USA and Great Britain and Ireland.

USA romped to a 19-7 win and two of that side will compete in the U.S. Open. World number one Scottie Scheffler and Collin Morikawa have delivered on the promise they showed in their amateur days to date, while Will Zalatoris would have teed it up in his home open had it not been for injury problems cutting his season short.

Cameron Champ and Maverick McNealy haven’t qualified for this U.S. Open while nobody from the Great Britain and Ireland side, which included The Island’s Paul McBride, will be competing this time around.

The Boys in Green: RORY MCILROY

Rory McIlroy was very much on brand at last month’s US PGA Championship sharing 7th place as Brooks Koepka won to overtake him in the Major stakes with his fifth title.

It was McIlroy’s 18th top-10 finish since he captured his last Major in 2014 and no player has had more Major top-10s in that period. However, like the majority of his 18 nearly weeks, he never truly contended to win a third Wanamaker Trophy.

The four-time Major winner took one step forward and one step back at Oak Hill but he did show signs of improvement from his Masters nightmare after a missed cut caused him to pull out of the RBC Heritage the following week.

Nobody quite knew how he was going to perform at the PGA and in truth, does anyone know how he will perform in Major championships anymore? Not even McIlroy is sure.

“I feel sort of close but also so far away at the same time. It’s hard to explain,” summed up McIlroy after the PGA Championship.

“I feel like sometimes it was the worst I could have played, but then at the same time, it’s like the best I could have done. It just doesn’t feel quite where it needs to be, and again, just need to go back home and work on some stuff. I guess just try to figure it out.

“So a week like this, there’s some good parts and there’s some bad parts. I just sort of trying to pick all those pieces out and obviously see what you can do better and sort of just move on from there. “I guess that I don’t need my best stuff to compete. I feel like I need my best stuff to win, but you know, I don’t need my best stuff to compete and hang in there. But, yeah, I need to be better.” McIlroy’s U.S. Open record is mixed.

The 2011 champion missed a hat-trick of cuts between 2016-2018 but has since posted four successive top-10 finishes including having chances to win in 2021 and 2022.


Shane Lowry’s game is tailormade for a U.S. Open. The Clara man ranks 24th in strokes gained off the tee, 18th in driving accuracy and 19th in strokes gained approach, and tee to green, on the PGA Tour.

Lowry has endured a very frustrating season but there have been signs of encouragement in the opening two Major championships. Known as a man for the big occasion with an Open Championship, WGC and BMW PGA under his belt, he posted finishes of 16th and 12th at the Masters and U.S. Open respectively.

Lowry was third in proximity to the hole at Oak Hill which is something that bodes well for the upcoming U.S. Open. “That’s the best I’ve driven all week,” he said. “I felt very comfortable out there with driver but yeah, my iron play was pretty good. “Look, it’s one of the strengths of my game. People talk about my short game and all this, that and the other but I believe that my iron play is probably the strength of my game.”

The 36-year-old’s best U.S. Open finish is second in 2016 when he saw a four-shot lead heading into the final round disappear at Oakmont as Dustin Johnson finally got over the Major championship finish line. Since then, however, Lowry has not cracked the top-25 and missed the cut in Brookline last year. However, Lowry feels his luck is about to turn.

“I don’t think we’re very far away from doing something pretty good in one of these, so just have to keep believing in myself and keep telling myself that it’s not far away,” he says.

“The one thing I’m happy with this week is like Augusta, I came to Augusta and I felt like I performed pretty well, and at Oak Hill I done the same thing. “If I can keep doing that in the big tournaments that is what is going to make me happy.”


Séamus Power will make just his second U.S. Open appearance having impressed en route to a 12th place finish twelve months ago. The Major journey started brilliantly for the West Waterford man who made his first three cuts including a first top-10 at last year’s PGA Championship at Southern Hills. But two missed cuts in his last three dating back to last year’s Open Championship have been a rude awakening to the consistency of performance needed to stick around in Majors for Power.

“For me, in the last couple of Majors, it’s been little mental things, just a little thing like just trying to hole a putt a little bit too much can just lead to a couple of missed putts here and there, or trying to do something a little bit too hard instead of letting things come to you,” Power says.

“And that’s going to be the biggest thing for me mentally. Physically, I’m very happy where my game is. Some weeks are going to be better than others, but I know what I’m doing with the golf ball.” Power enjoyed an excellent spell towards the end of 2022, picking up his second PGA Tour title at the Bermuda Championship before finishes of 3rd and 5th brought a great year to an end with him perched at the FedEx Cup summit.

This year he has been solid if unspectacular to date, missing just three cuts but Power is yet to register a top-10 finish and has slipped from a high of 28th in the Official World Golf Rankings to 42nd.


Pádraig Harrington will make his first U.S. Open Championship appearance since 2013 courtesy of his U.S. Senior Open win last year. Harrington’s best U.S. Open finish in his career was a share of fourth place at the Olympic Club in 2012 when Webb Simpson won, while he had a number of close shaves in the championship, including at Winged Foot in 2006. The now three-time Major winner floundered at the finish like Colin Montgomerie and more memorably Phil Mickelson as Australia’s Geoff Ogilvy reigned supreme.

While there is a sense that the U.S. Open will remain the one that got away for the Dubliner, he insists the near-miss experience in ‘06 spurred him on for future Major success. “I was playing the best golf of my life on Sunday, and I thought I needed three pars to win,” he recalled.

“When I bogeyed 16, I panicked, thinking I needed to birdie 17 or 18, and as it turned out, I didn’t. I three-putted 18, took three from 25 feet. “But I didn’t see it as a negative. It was the first time I played in a Major where I felt like I could have won. “Bob Rotella came up to me afterwards to console me, and I told him, ‘No, no, this is the greatest day of my life, because now I realise I can win Majors without help from someone else’.

“It brought a huge amount of confidence. At Winged Foot, it was all part of a plan and it went the way it should have gone, it wasn’t out of the blue. “It was, ‘OK, let’s keep doing this and it will happen’.”


The fifth weapon in the Irish arsenal is U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Matthew McClean who will make his second Major appearance at LACC. McClean missed the cut at the Masters in April but will hope to raise his game again for the U.S. Open.

The Malone native works as a part time optometrist and at 30-years old, he will weigh up a decision to turn pro at the end of the season. McClean would like to play all four rounds at the U.S. Open knowing it could go a long way to securing his Walker Cup goal. “I am undecided about any long-term future plans,” he says.

“Walker Cup selection is undoubtedly the main goal for next year. It is the pinnacle for an amateur. I hope to be in a more ‘settled mindset’ by the end of the 2023 season. Being an amateur for life is an increasingly rare breed, nevertheless, it is a fulfilling and enjoyable option for me to consider.”

Can Phil thrill again and finally win the Grand Slam?

Phil Mickelson has tried just about everything in his power to land the career grand slam at the U.S. Open but has had to settle for second best on no fewer than six occasions.

His last runner-up finish came in 2013 behind Justin Rose at Merion and since then he has missed three cuts and finished in the top-20 once. However, April’s T2 finish at the Masters, as well as a made cut at the PGA Championship, have rekindled hopes of Phil the thrill finally getting over the line.

The 2021 PGA champion feels his return to form in the Majors this year is because of the LIV schedule. “Love LIV or hate it, it’s the best way/tour to be your best in the majors,” he claims.

“Enough events to keep you sharp, fresh and ready, yet not be worn down from too many tournaments or obligations. 14 LIV events, 34 weeks left open to prepare for the 4 majors. Fact.” Will LIV players continue to dominate?

LIV golfers have performed well in the Majors in 2023 with Brooks Koepka winning at Oak Hill last month. Koepka and Phil Mickelson shared second at the Masters while LIV had three players in the top-4, and another three inside the top-9 at the PGA Championship, including the winner.

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