In the lead up to the US Open at Merion Golf Club, all the talk was about how easy the course was going to be.
Merion is the shortest course for a major championship in nine years. In addition, soggy conditions softened the fairways and slowed down the normally windshield-quick greens. Ernie Els basically said it was going to be a birdie-fest of epic proportions.
And then they started the tournament, and the course absolutely abused these players.
Only five players shot under part in Round One. And some of the best players in the world (Graeme McDowell, Angel Cabrera, Keegan Bradley, Zach Johnson, Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood) are below the cut line.
It’s a bloodbath.
The biggest reason is the rough, which is deep and coarse and more punitive that it probably should be. While it’s true that Merion isn’t long, it’s nearly impossible to make birdie this week if you stick one of your shots in the rough.
The USGA notoriously tries to make the US Open the hardest tournament in golf. And it looks like they really overreacted to those whispers that Merion would be easy earlier in the week. They let the rough grow, kept the grass around the bunkers choppy, and put the pins in tough positions.
Here are some grisly photos of the results.
It’s easier to be in the bunker:
Look at the grass:
That’s in two inches of rough, under a tree, in front of a bunker:
Merion also has all sorts of goofy folds and quirks, which are giving players fits:
Add mud balls to this, and it’s a mess out there:
Sometimes it takes two whacks to get it out:
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