The U.S. Open is the 2nd oldest major championship after the British Open. It was founded by the United States Golf Association, better known as the USGA, to be the premier golf tournament in the United States. It is technically an “open championship”, meaning it is open to anyone regardless of age or gender, provided they have a handicap of 1.4 or less. The tournament is well known for being one of the most difficult tournaments as golfers often struggle for par. Courses selected are typically longer than average and will be altered prior to the tournament to increase the difficulty.
Typically, fairways will be narrowed and the rough will be grown higher than usual, and sometimes 1 or more par-5s will be rebranded as par-4s for the tournament. The tournament has become the showcase event for American golf, however, in the beginning it was British golfers who dominated the U.S. Open.
U.S. Open play is characterized by tight scoring at or around par by the leaders, with the winner usually emerging at around even par. A U.S. Open course is seldom beaten severely, and there have been many over-par wins (in part because par is usually set at 70, except for the very longest courses).
Normally, an Open course is quite long and will have a high cut of primary rough (termed “Open rough” by the American press and fans); undulating greens; pinched fairways (especially on what are expected to be less difficult holes); and two or three holes that are short par fives under regular play would be used as long par fours during the tournament (often to meet that frequently used par of 70, forcing players to have accurate long drives).