By Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer
June 13,2017, 12:40:09PM,EDT
Above-normal warmth will mark the start of the 2017 U.S. Open Championship at Erin Hills Golf Course in Erin, Wisconsin.The 117th edition of the tournament will begin early Thursday morning with the first group scheduled to tee off at 6:45 a.m. CDT.
Spectators traveling to Erin Hills can leave rain gear at home for the first round on Thursday, but they should prepare for heat and humidity. Temperatures through the first two days of play will settle in the mid-80s F when a normal high for June 15 and 16 is around 77.
Fans will want to wear a hat and sunglasses, drink plenty of water and apply sunscreen to combat the effects of the sun when outdoors for an extended period of time.
While showers and thunderstorms will steer clear of the region on Thursday, thunderstorms could move through the course on Friday, which could bring disruptions to the second round. Storms could also result in delays for the final practice round on Wednesday.
Dangerous weather caused play to be disrupted during practice rounds on Tuesday morning.
By the time the tournament shifts to the weekend rounds, temperatures will slowly diminish, but AccuWeather meteorologists are monitoring the forecast through Sunday due to the chance for thunderstorm activity.
After temperatures settle in the low 80s on Saturday, temperatures will plummet into the low 70s for the final round on Sunday.
This is the first major championship to be played at Erin Hills, which opened back in 2006 and is located about 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee.
The landscape of the course, which is set among rolling farmland in the Wisconsin countryside, was formed by colliding glaciers more than 20,000 years ago. As a result, Erin Hills is filled with dramatic vistas and contours in the state's Kettle Moraine region.
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"Ahead of round one on Thursday, some overnight rain and thunderstorms that could last into the early morning hours will make for some wet and slower greens, but generally the day looks dry, albeit warm," said AccuWeather Meteorlogist Bill Deger.
When the course is dry, golfers will prepare for the course to play firm and fast. Any rain that moves through during the later rounds could lead to a softer course, which allows the players to pick a more targeted landing zone for their shots.
With a length of 7,800 yards, it’s one of the longest courses in the country. While this may be a benefit for golfers who can driver the ball farther, the wind can sometimes limit that advantage.
“The longer the ball is in the air, that very silent hazard of the wind can come into play," Jeff Hall, managing director of rules and open championships for the United States Golf Association, told the Associated Press.
Outside of a thunderstorm, the wind should be fairly tame with the exception of Sunday when winds will be between 10 and 15 mph, along with some higher gusts, according to Deger.
In a roundtable discussion on the U.S. Open's website, caddies who are experienced with the winds at Erin Hills described how "unpredictable" the winds are and how the lack of trees on the course can make it hard to judge wind direction.