A lot of pro golfers are fed up with what they feel are excessively difficult conditions at Chambers Bay, the site of this week’s US Open.
Chambers Bay is a links course outside Seattle that features dramatic elevation changes, undulating greens, and a bunch of holes that can be totally changed from one day to the next with alterations to tee boxes and pin positions. It’s not at all what you’d traditionally expect from a US Open course.
Some players, like Charl Schwartzel, hate it.
“[The greens] roll so badly that a good putt misses and a bad one goes in. That’s the most difficult part for us,” Schwartzel told the Guardian. “You practice and a good putt goes in the hole, so you’re going to have to work on accepting what is going to happen out there. You’ll just have to be mentally stronger, I suppose.”
While the course has been changed significantly since the US Amateur was held there in 2010, Golf Channel highlights from that tournament will give you a sense of what Schwartzel is talking about when he says the course makes the tournament a crapshoot.
The 12th hole, a drivable par-4 with a massive green, is a good example. In 2010, guys were just firing drives up there, watching it roll all over the place, and hoping it settled near the hole.
It’s great. It’s like mini golf out here:
Gil Hanse of Fox Sports explained what makes the 12th green so tough in a breakdown of the hole:
“It’s probably the most heavily contoured green out here. And I think the thought process from a design standpoint is if you’re trying to drive it you have to try to be on the proper quadrant of the green if you’re going to make an eagle. If you’re hitting a wedge in there, you’re going to have an opportunity to be a lot more precise with your ball striking. … The most three-putts on the golf course will occur on this hole.”
While some think this sort of variability devalues the event and introduces too much luck into the equation, Tiger Woods is one of the players who gets the appeal an unpredictable, “fun” US Open:
“You’re going to get some funky bounces out there. The ball is going to roll and catch slopes. You’re going to see guys hit terrible golf shots and end up in kicking range from the hole. You’re going to see guys fire at the flag and get a good one and get a hard bounce and end up in a hard spot. I’m more curious to see how many guys hit sprinklers this week, because the sprinklers are literally sometimes six inches off the green. And some of the hole locations you’ll be firing — if you fire at it, you’re flying right over the top of sprinklers to land it. It will be interesting to see how many guys hit it or how many guys just roll the ball off the green and they’re on the steps or up against the steps, take a ruling, have to drop it in the bunker and have it buried. Now you’re going to have a lot of fun.”
A lot of guys are going to hit perfect shots and they’re going to roll 120 feet away from the hole. Golf purists may hate that, but it’s going to be great to watch.
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