US Open: Rickie Fowler is one shot back after Justin Rose shoots 65

He insists that it does not bother him and politely says so when the issue is addressed, which was as recent as Tuesday.

But deep down, the magnetic star wants to get rid of the label of being one of the best players who has never won a major title, a double-edged label that has been associated with his locker with the logo for almost five years.

As he has said, all he can do is be in a position to end that conversation. And he did it again in the first round of the 119th. US Open when he signed a 5 under par 66 to share space in the Leaderboard with Xander Schauffele, Louis Oosthuizen and Aaron Wise in Pebble Beach. Justin Rose reached the top of the board later on Thursday with a 65.

"Well, the expectations and the pressure that I put on more than what comes from abroad," said Fowler. "I would love to get a specialization, it would be amazing if it were this week, we have a good start, we have a lot of work to do, but I said earlier in the week that I won an O, I do not have a career, it's something that will define me."

Fowler and the rest of the morning wave were greeted by a calm sea, almost motionless trees and a course that was giving way. Soon red numbers like markers were produced.

After the top trio of leaders, Scott Piercy shot 67 after getting his first six holes.

Piercy had a warm start at Pebble Beach, where the greens were soft and the conditions. Piercy birdied holes 2, 4 and 5 before his eagle in the sixth par 5.

A group of four in 68 included four-time main champion, Rory McIlroy. Eight players were in 69, including Sergio Garcia, Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau and Graeme McDowell, who won the US Open in 2010, the last time it was in Pebble Beach.

"It's probably a better round that I played in one of the majors, but I felt that I had fired the worst," said Fowler, alluding to the number of greens he hit in the regulation (15), how many streets he hit (13) and how many good putts he caressed (many). "So it's a good thing that I'm happy with the start, you can not go out and win the first day, but obviously you put yourself in a good position or you take it out."

Fowler, who has won five PGA Tour titles, has 10 top-10s in the majors. Four of them came in 2014, including the PGA Championship, where he led by one with six holes to play before tying for the third.

In 2017, his 65th birthday gave him the first round advantage at the US Open on the way to a tie for the fifth. In the 2018 masters, he did a Sunday race on Sunday of nine but fell a little bit of champion Patrick Reed.

As all the majors have passed, this is his number 39; Fowler said he has reached the coveted comfort level. It wants to feel like a regular PGA Tour event. It is prepared a little different for the four biggest events, but the first day of the first day arrives, it is only thinking about the execution.

"You do not have to do anything special in the big races, it's just being disciplined and executing the shot that's at hand," said Fowler. "I feel very good, very comfortable at Pebble, I feel very good at the golf course and away from the golf course."

McIlroy, winner of last week's RBC Canadian Open, would say the same. He exorcised his recent demonic past with the United States Open. In his last three starts in the national championship, McIlroy opened with rounds of 77, 78 and 80 on the way to losing the cut.

His 68 omens are fine: the last three times he opened a major with 68 or less, he won. Those victories came in the 2012 PGA, the 2014 British Open and the 2014 PGA.

"Going back to winning these big events, it's important to have a good start," McIlroy said. "You're right from the start, I did not like it, Open, I was patient, I went to the first hole and then played the last 17 4-under without a bogey, it was a good day's work."