The 114th United States Open Championship is scheduled for June 12–15 at the No. 2 Course of the Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, North Carolina. This is one of eight courses on the resort and is famous for hosting the US Open two other times since 1999. This majestic course is a Par 72, 7495 yard creation of Donald Ross that has been host to six other major championships through the years. This course has a rating/slope of 76.4/141 – all I can say is ouch!
The US Open Golf Championship is, in my opinion, the third most coveted tournament in the golfing world. Personally, I prefer The Masters, then British Open, but that discussion is for another day. However, The US Open is by far the most difficult of all the Majors. The course is extremely long and the setup is unfair at best. When comparing toughness of courses the comment I hear the most “Well at least it is not US Open rough!” Winning scores have ranged from -16 to +5; all due to course setup and weather conditions. The drier the course the more challenging.
Choosing a course is no easy feat, but the USGA does have certain criteria they use during the selection process. “The following list of 14 factors impact overall U.S. Open course set up. The mix of these factors varies from course to course, year to year. Evaluation of course set up should not focus on any single element but consider the composite result.
- Length, variation and playing characteristics of individual holes;
- Length of overall golf course relative to total par;
- Teeing ground locations (i.e., angles of play, variation of distance day to day);
- Fairway width and contours;
- Fairway firmness and speed;
- Green speed relative to percentage slopes and contours of the putting greens;
- Putting green firmness;
- Rough height, density and stages of severity;
- Bunker preparation (i.e., create challenge of recovery);
- Green surrounds (e.g. closely mown areas -vs.- primary rough);
- Hole locations (relative difficulty, balance in location of left-vs.-right, front-vs.-back, anticipated wind, anticipated length of approach shot);
- Risk and reward options;
- Anticipated weather conditions; and
- Pace of play.
There is no USGA target score for a U.S. Open. While the final score at some U.S. Open sites will be at or near par, the USGA does not try to formulate a course set up that will only produce a winning score of at or near even par.”
So the course is extremely tough, the best players in the world will be ready to play, and the media hype is starting to going crazy! The second Major of the year is more often than not a war of attrition verses skill! In one round, a player can be out of the tournament. Does this really seem fair? With Tiger Woods likely not able to play with the tournament hold the same meaning?
Through all of this, my question remains – Is the US Open Worth the Wait?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links…..soon!