It’s perhaps fitting that at a time when the upper echelons of men’s professional golf is embroiled in some kind of civil war, the US Open is taking place at Brookline.

This was the Boston venue, after all, where the 1999 Ryder Cup was held. And what happened during that particular encounter? Yes, that’s right, there was an outbreak of hostilities so fearsome, you wouldn’t be surprised if there were still bits of shrapnel embedded in the face of the bunkers.

The infamous ‘Battle of Brookline’, during which Team USA donned one of the most hideously designed polo shirts in the history of sporting apparel, erupted in a riot of rancour and recrimination.

The berserk scenes of premature American celebration on the 17th green, when just about the entire population of Massachusetts invaded the putting surface after Justin Leonard’s outrageous birdie, remains a centrepiece in golf’s hall of infamy.

Here in 2022, as the US Open returns to Brookline for the first time since 1988, the latest battle involves the mighty power struggle between the established tours and the heavily armed belligerent that is the Saud-backed LIV Golf Series. But you’re all sick to the back teeth of hearing about that aren’t you?

Brooks Koepka, the two-time US Open, probably spoke for a lot of the scunnered masses the other day when asked about the on-going circus which is currently consuming the Royal & Ancient game.

“I'm tired of the conversations, I'm tired of all this stuff,” groaned Koepka while rolling his eyes in so much exasperation, they just about ended up peering back into his own skull. “You’re all throwing a black cloud over the US Open.”

Such sympathy for the organisers of this week’s showpiece, the USGA, remains something of a remarkable development. In the build-up to their flagship event, the USGA top brass are usually being routinely criticised for their traditionally brutal course set-up. Not this week, though. 

The LIV Golf palaver has even plunged that annual debating point into the heavy rough of irrelevance. As for the absence of Tiger Woods? Well, most folk have probably forgotten that Woods is actually absent. These are strange times indeed as we get set for this latest Boston Tee Party.

A major championship week is always intriguing. The blend of loyal tour remainers and LIV Golf rebels in the field will add additional spice to proceedings in a neck of the woods that has some of the most boisterous crowds in the USA. Brace yourself for some lively baiting from the hordes in the Brookline Bearpit.

If last weekend’s Canadian Open, won in thrilling fashion by Rory McIlroy in front of a delirious throng, was a timely shot in the arm for the status quo, then the third men’s major of the campaign should give it a booster jag.

If history teaches us anything, then we could be in for the long haul come Sunday night. The US Open has been held at Brookline three times, in 1913, 1963 and 1988, and on each occasion, a play-off has been required to determine the champion.

McIlroy, seeking a second US Open title, a fifth major and a first since 2014, will blast off in buoyant mood while the world No 1 Scottie Scheffler has landed in town aiming to become just the sixth player to win The Masters and US Open in the same season. Six-time US Open runner-up Phil Mickelson, meanwhile, has arrived from his re-emergence at the LIV Golf event last week still looking as sheepish as an entire series of One Man and His Dog.

It was Jon Rahm who was the top dog at Torrey Pines last year with a birdie, birdie finish which brought him his first major crown. The Spaniard knows what it takes to get the job done. “It's a US Open, you need everything,” said Rahm, who was the leading amateur in the 2016 US Open and tied third in 2019. “You need to drive well, hit your irons well, chip well, and putt well. And be mentally sane for four days."

Keeping the heid while others are losing theirs can bring hefty rewards in the fraught, flummoxing arena of a US Open. At a tumultuous time for the game, when many think professional golf is taking leave of its senses, there will be plenty to keep the mind occupied this week.