Starting Thursday, the best golfers in the world will take on the toughest challenge they face each year, the US Open.
The rough will be deep, the greens like putting on your garage floor, and the fairways about as wide as a bowling alley.
It all sucks, and makes for the most un-fun, unwatchable weekend of golf each year.
This year the tournament heads to Erin Hills in Wisconsin, that will play at a whopping 7,693 yards.
Players have already been bitching about how deep the fescue is this year, but that doesn’t appear to be as much of an issue anymore after heavy rains came through the area and basically matted down the fescue, forcing the course to cut it or players really wouldn’t have been able to get out of it.
— Golfdom (@Golfdom) June 13, 2017
And that picture about sums up my thoughts on the US Open. I get they want to course to be tough, and the players to have to work to earn their score, but they do so artificially, adding obstacles that wouldn’t normally be there just to make it harder.
They grow the rough deeper and thicker than any other time all year, to the point where it’s almost dangerous for the players to try to hit out of it.
Then they add on a bunch of fake distance so the short hitters have no chance, and they force the players to hit driver off almost every tee so they either have some sort of prayer to get it on the green, or they get out the weed wacker and hope to move the ball 10 feet out of the rough.
I get making the course long because players hit it so far today, but the US Open takes it to stupid lengths, literally.
It’s one thing if a course is naturally difficult, like say Augusta, but the US Open, especially the last two years, has turned the tournament into a game of fun house golf, where it hasn’t really mattered where you hit it, because their dumb layout might punish you anyway.
Again, I know they want to make it hard and have the winning score be around even par, but that’s not fun for anyone except maybe a few players.
As a casual golf fan, or even avid golf fan, you watch the PGA Tour to see the best in the world do things that normal weekend hackers like you and I can’t do. And the US Open takes that away.
It’s one thing to watch the players be humbled, it’s another to watch the course turn them into borderline hacks where really good players struggle to break 80.
There’s a reason Golf Channel and the networks don’t show Wednesday night golf league from the local muni. Because those guys are bad and it’s not fun to watch, except for maybe the occasional laugh when they whiff or shank one.
And that’s essentially what you’ll see all tournament long. Balls that aren’t hit 10 years, putts the roll off the greens for no reason, a shot that looks great lands on the concrete-like greens and bounces off the back.
Maybe the rains they got at Erin Hills will make the course a little easier, but more likely the USGA is already out there trying to dry the greens back to lightning speed.
The setup that the US Open allows takes away a chance to see the best in the world perform like the best in the world.
I want them to get a chance to do that, not see them hack out of the rough, make a double-bogey and still find themselves only a few shots back despite being +5. I’ve covered enough high school and local golf in my life and have had enough tournaments like that.
It’s dumb, and it’s not entertaining. It’s effectively a game of who makes the fewest mistakes, rather than one where the golfer who plays the best wins.
So while I’ll be watching as much of the US Open as I can this weekend, I’ll be bitching about it the whole time.