The 2019 Open Championship

Why Six American Stars Are Roommates at The Open

Even abroad, an ocean away from the familiar comforts of Florida mansions and high-walled country clubs, six American PGA Tour stars have crammed their way into a rental house. Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson and Jimmy Walker opted once again for camaraderie over comfort at this week’s Open Championship, continuing a recent tradition by piling into a sprawling rental overlooking Royal Portrush.

As he finished Monday’s practice round, Fowler gazed up from the 18th green and tried to identify the group’s rental from several large houses overlooking the course. “I guess I could walk here from the house, but it would just be through a fan gate,” he said, pondering the possibility.

It’s not just the competitors in the house, however. “Six players, three wives and a chef,” Kisner explained after his Saturday round. It sounds like the start of a joke. In reality, it’s half of a formidable Ryder Cup squad.

This is nothing new for this crew, of course. To say nothing of boyhood friends Spieth and Thomas, or current Florida neighbors Fowler and Thomas, this group has bonded on multiple U.S. teams in international competition. More to the point, they’ve had nearly this exact group for this event since 2016 at Royal Troon. Only when Jason Dufner failed to qualify for this year’s Open did the Carnoustie 7 (below) from 2018 turn into the Portrush 6.

Kisner’s in town fresh off a missed cut at the Scottish Open. He’s been traveling with Thomas, who finished T9 in Scotland before jumping over to Northern Ireland. Johnson is the third member of the house traveling stag, fresh off a substandard T37 at the John Deere Classic.

Fowler and Walker missed the cut at the Scottish, too. Spieth, the final member, hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship, but flew to Dublin for some pre-Open Irish golf, including at least one bonus round at Portmarnock. On Monday, Walker posted a photo of the three house couples: he and his wife Erin, Spieth with his wife Annie, and Fowler with his fiancee Allison.