*2013 U.S. Open Golf Championship at Merion ?

How Hard Are The Golf Courses That Host The U.S. Open?

Taking a look at past U.S. Open scores to anticipate this years results.

How difficult is it to go low in the U.S. Open?  Last year’s U. S. Open Champion Web Simpson was the best player in the world for the week, but he wasn’t able to shoot even par.  Tiger Woods was 8 over and most of the field played worse, including a score of  23 over par.    Then consider the 2 day scores of the other half of the field.  They IMG_4340 (2)didn’t even make the cut when the course was supposedly playing easier…The best two day score of players that missed the cut was 9 over par, the worst was 28 over par.  This is golf’s elite shooting these scores!  What’s the reason? The USGA will this year at Merion Golf Club as it has every year for the past several decades, fully challenge these U.S. Open contestants.   Here’s how.  The fairways will be very narrow and difficult to hit off the tee.  The thick rough can be miserable to hit out of, adding extra pressure to keep the tee ball in the fairway.  Hitting approach shots to the greens is an event to behold.  Most all of the greens at Merion are small, firm and fast which means that players need to hit a high shot with backspin on their approach shots.  If they don’t they’re not likely to stay on the green. Because of the thick rough the players won’t get much height or backspin off their shot.  To make it yet more difficult, the hole locations will be placed on some of the more unfriendly parts of the greens.  Are you starting to get the picture?

When on the green there are new issues to deal with, specifically reading the break and putting on the fastest undulating greens imaginable.  Most of us have never experienced putting on greens like these.  Lightly tap a downhill putt and go way past the hole if you miss.  Most of these great putters will oft times be forced to putt defensively, which is not in their usual mindset.  This is the USGA‘s way of testing all aspects of a players shot making abilities under difficult setup conditions.  Add to this a players’ mental condition, nerves, course management challenges and you have the U.S. Open.  This golf championship will showcase the best of the best taking on golf challenges that we can’t imagine. My prediction is that the short course and heavy rains will help tame this course and yield lower scores this year.  :)

By Rick Ortega

rick@rickortega.com

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