I have a lot of friends who love watching the world’s best golfers struggle in a major championship. I don’t. I don’t want them looking remotely like me on the course. That’s why I hope this year’s U.S. Open at Oakmont is an exception to the event’s recent history.
The cliché about the U.S. Open is the fairways are bowling alleys, the greens are glass tables and the rough can only be escaped with a Sherpa and a sickle. That setup too often produced ham-and-egg champs like Michael Campbell, Lee Janzen, Steve Jones, Larry Nelson, etc. The setup shouldn’t bring everyone closer together; it should separate greatness.
Thankfully, since Mike Davis took over course setup in 2006, the situation has improved. He introduced graduated rough. His setups at Torrey Pines, Pebble Beach, Pinehurst and Chambers Bay have been more fair. But it’s still not as great an event as the Masters or British Open. Next year, the Open goes to Wisconsin’s Erin Hills, which has sweeping elevation changes, menacing bunkers and total exposure to the wind. (I’ve played it). Hopefully, Davis & Co. go back to having reasonable rough so the champion can win, not avoid losing.