Published: Fri, June 14, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Koepka 'could care less' about result in U.S. Open tune-up

Koepka 'could care less' about result in U.S. Open tune-up

"The result doesn't matter, it's how I feel I played that is important".

A couple of key changes have stacked the odds against Dustin Johnson as he tries to defend his Canadian Open title.

Defending champion Dustin Johnson is playing, Rory McIlroy makes his first appearance, while Justin Thomas is teeing up as he plays his way back from a wrist injury that caused him to miss the PGA Championship. And then there are the 26 Canadians, some of them very familiar with the course (think Mackenzie Hughes) eager to break a winless drought that dates all the way back to 1954. "You want these fans in golf, and to be out here at this tournament". So you can imagine what it's like when you have a $1.368 million first prize and 500 FedEx Cup points on the line. "This is a very prestigious tournament, one of the oldest tournaments in the world that I would dearly love to be able to add my name to", said McIlroy, who claimed his first major triumph with victory in the 2011 US Open at Congressional.

Johnson said he was thinking of trying to get out Wednesday afternoon to walk the back nine, but heavy rains that started around 11:30 a.m. and didn't let up until 3 p.m. may have scuttled those plans.

"We've all got to deal with the same issues".

"Seemed pretty good", Koepka said of his form.

From this year's field, only Piercy and Furyk have won the RBC Canadian Open on this course. The Abbey is a course where a big bomber such as Johnson can let it rip off the tee, and where there are plenty of eagles to be had. It measures a little over 6,900 yards for a par 70 and really doesn't offer too much trouble by PGA standards for a course of this length.

"You need to hit it in the fairway", said Johnson, who now sits fifth in the FedExCup standings with 1,572 points. "If you hit the fairways and hit every green you're not going to have any problems". Not only does it a brilliantly-designed golf course, but the background and scenery are completely breathtaking.

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Of course, Johnson won't be the only player teeing off having had only a cursory look at the Hamilton track. Two years of the PGA Tour exempt status, along with an exemption into the 2019 Open Championship and an invitation to the 2020 Masters could sweeten the pot for lower-tier players.

"We've all got to play the same golf course".

"It's really been building momentum", says Tournament Director Bryan Crawford. And why wouldn't he? Lowry finished 12 in this tournament past year. I think that Dustin Johnson will put up a good defence. "I'm looking for a strong finish to the season. You just need to go out and take care of business, and if you don't, hey, I gave it my all". Probably not. Plus, the PGA Tour will always have its say.

Johnson is no stranger to the RBC Canadian Open, having come in second place in both 2013 and 2016.

Whether or not that effects their results this week remains to be seen.

The cool breeze whistling off the Pacific Ocean coupled with golf's toughest conditions can only mean one thing: It's officially U.S. Open week.

"I think it's actually a ideal set-up for next week", he said. But this year, it will be held at the gorgeous Hamilton Golf and Country Club. Due to off-site sponsor obligations and a pro-am tournament on Monday, they were half-round as part of a pro-am on Wednesday.

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