The US Open is and has always been (even in the late 1800’s) a true test of golf. The most difficult courses, tipped out, with the fastest greens, long rough, and meant to humble the best golfers of the world. So what happened last year at Congressional? -16 under par won the US Open? Granted Rory McIlroy set a US Open record for the lowest 72 hole score of all time, and it did rain just prior to the US Open. Which means the course softens up, the greens slow down, and the players are able to shoot lower scores.
“A very fair question,” Davis, the USGA executive director began when asked about McIlroy’s 2011 performance on a rain-softened Congressional. “In the back of my mind I guess that just me personally, and I think Tom [O’Toole, USGA vice president and chairman of our Championship Committee) feels the same way, and I believe the USGA as a whole, we want this event to be a real challenge. That trademark goes back … into the 1800s (the first U.S. Open was in 1895) when this event was played. So I think that one of the things we want to set this event apart is really challenging the players in all respects. “When we look back at last year, we’re very, very proud. Congressional was a great club to work with, it’s a great championship test, and that the proof’s in the pudding: Rory McIlroy won. If we had had four days of incredibly firm conditions, I’m absolutely convinced Rory still would have won. So I think looking back we identified the best player last year, he’s been a wonderful champion, but at the same time I wouldn’t want to go through that every year where we have four days of wet, soft conditions because it doesn’t really bring out what we’re trying to do in terms of identifying a national champion.”
So what does last years record setting US Open mean for this years tournament in San Fransisco. The USGA is kinda pissed and they want the golfers of the world to remember that the word par, and the US Open go hand in hand. Granted, The Olympic Club, hosting its fifth U.S. Open,
won’t need tricks to prove suitably resistant to scoring. Only four men have ever finished under par in the previous four editions on the Lake Course, and in the most recent National Open Championship at Olympic, in 1998, Lee Janzen triumphed at even-par 280.
This is what I mean by the USGA getting back a little bit at the professional golfer. The Olympic Club will have the longest par five to date. The 16th is the focus of considerable debate because it measures 670 yards, the longest par-5 hole in U.S. Open history, surpassing the 667-yard par-5 12th hole at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club for the 2007 championship. Add the longest par 5 to date (where 1% of the pros could even think about reaching it in two…yeah right?!) to the fact that most of the dog leg rights the fairways slant left, and vice versa for the dog leg lefts, means that the USGA is looking for red faces not red numbers.
I am excited for this years US Open. I must say that I am a fan of the National Champion being decided by the guy who plays four rounds of golf on the toughest course and ends up close to even par. I really love it when +1 or +2 wins. The Olympic Club is known for two things. One being very difficult, which means higher scores in general. Two it is known for its giant killing nature. So if truth be told, the likes of Tiger and Phil are not really the favorites this year. In fact in four short days we may have a Spencer Levin, or Colt Knost, or some other relative unknown taking his place in history right next to Jack Fleck, Billy Casper, Scott Simpson, and Lee Janzen.
Chicago Golf Guy’s 2 Cents:
Not only with the winning score this week be within two shots (on either the good or bad side of par) win the 2012 US Open. I am also going to go out on a limb that we are going to get 5 days of golf from this years US Open. Two of the four US Open’s played at Olympic were decided on Monday. We have not had a Monday finish since Woods won in 08. I am predicting the David VS Goliath Monday playoff to decide this years US Open. I will also take the over and under on how many of us call in sick to work on Monday if there is a playoff.