Watching The US Open
I have been looking forward to this U.S. Open at Merion ever since the USGA announced it several years ago. I was anxious to see if a sub-7,000 yard course could still challenge today's golf professionals, who hit the ball such prodigious distances. But I was so disappointed to see this week's torrential rains change the course's playability so much from what the USGA and Merion's brilliant staff had hoped. Firm fairways and firm, fast greens have given way to receptive dart boards for tee shots and approaches. And these guys can throw darts in conditions like this.
I watched a little of the tournament yesterday and saw players backing up shots 5-20 feet on their short approaches, and it almost made me cry. It's the U.S. Open and they get that!!!?? Sure, they are fast, and the course rough is treacherous, but I was hoping to see them have to play the ball to release after impact on the greens, drives that could bounce and roll into the rough if hit on the wrong line. Looks like that's not going to happen.
But it's still a beautiful course with plenty of trouble. I have to find a way to get there and play it sometime, so add one to my bucket list.
Who knows if they will tear it apart ... or not?. If the weather cooperates, it will get firmer and faster each day, and maybe Sunday will be the "survival test" that the Open is somewhat known for. I love watching these guys struggle for pars and making only a few birdies. I like seeing them tested by making them hit some long clubs into greens for a change, not just on par five holes. And par fives that are true three-shot holes, which have become almost extinct on the PGA Tour the past couple of decades.
In other words, I want to watch the best players in the world tackle a golf course like I do. Hitting everything from fairway wood to wedge to par fours and threes. Having to hit TWO good shots on a par five to set up the approach. Having greenside saves that require creativity and skill, and a bit of luck.
If they could just make the bunkers a real hazard for these guys, golf would be almost perfect.
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