The United States Open Championship, commonly known as the U.S. Open, is the annual open golf tournament of the United States. It is the second of the four major championships in golf, and is on the official schedule of both the PGA Tour and the European Tour. It is staged by the United States Golf Association (USGA) in mid-June, scheduled so that, if there are no weather delays, the final round is played on the third Sunday, which is Father's Day.
The U.S. Open is staged at a variety of courses, set up in such a way that scoring is very difficult with a premium placed on accurate driving. 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 (such as at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2005, which was described by Johnny Miller of NBC as "like trying to hit a ball on top of a VW Beetle"), and pinched fairways (especially on what are expected to be less difficult holes). Some courses that are attempting to get into the rotation for the U.S. Open will undergo renovations to develop these features. Rees Jones is the most notable of the "Open Doctors" who take on these projects; his father Robert Trent Jones had filled that role earlier. As with any professional golf tournament, the available space surrounding the course (for spectators, among other considerations) and local infrastructure also factor into deciding which courses will host the event.
The U.S. Open is the only one of the four major championships which does not go immediately to a playoff if two or more players are tied at the end of the four rounds. Instead, the players play a fifth 18-hole round the following day (Monday), but if a tie still exists after that round, then a sudden-death playoff is held. Only three times has the U.S. Open gone to sudden-death after the playoff round, most recently in 2008 when Tiger Woods defeated Rocco Mediate on the first additional playoff hole.
Coverage of The U.S. Open is broadcasted on television by NBC and ESPN, with additional online coverage of a marquee group provided by ESPN via the U.S. Open's official website. Of golf's broadcast television partners in the U.S., NBC is the only one to provide four days of major tournament coverage (CBS, which airs the Masters and the PGA Championship, only provides weekend coverage of its tournaments; starting in 2010, the Open Championship will not be aired live on an over-the-air network at all, with all four rounds airing on ESPN and only edited highlights screened by ABC).