Early on day one of the 117th US Open spectators and players saw a blimp fall out of the sky near the Erin Hills course in Wisconsin. The pilot was taken to hospital with "serious burns," according to the Washington County Sheriff's Office.
Erin Hills, which at 7,741 yards is the longest course in US Open history, was built in 2006 on the undulating Kettle Moraine topography of the region, which was carved by an ancient ice sheet.
American Rickie Fowler set the early pace with a seven-under-par round of 65 as he seeks his first major title.
World No.1 and defending champion Dustin Johnson, whose wife gave birth to the couple's second child Monday, struggled to a three-over 75.
Jordan Spieth, who won the Masters and US Open in 2015, carded an opening 73 at Erin Hills.
Guess who? Two-time Masters winner Bubba Watson and Sergio Garcia, who triumphed at Augusta in April, walk off the ninth tee Thursday afternoon.
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, who won the US Open in 2011, played down criticism of the long rough in the build up, only to tangle with the deep stuff himself numerous times in a six-over 78.
Former world No. 1 Jason Day was another who had a tough day at the office with a seven-over 79.
American Kevin Na had posted a video on social media in the build-up highlighting the length of the fescue grass in the rough, but he mostly avoided it Thursday to card a four-under 68 for a spot in the top 10.
Masters champion Sergio Garcia, who is set to get married later this year, carded a two-under 70 as he tries to emulate Jordan Spieth in 2015 in winning the Masters and US Open back-to-back.
England's Paul Casey birdied the last to get within one of Rickie Fowler after a six-under 66 as shadows lengthened Thursday afternoon.