Tough rough: US Open conditions may rob drama from a major

Hazel Gray
June 14, 2017

It is his first time at this Major as a professional but Erin Hills is likely to play easier than most US Opens so the field could open for him.

"It's not the usual US Open golf course, the US Open classic setup", Rahm said.

The United States Golf Association (USGA) pulls no punches when it chooses a venue and sets up the course and this year have chosen Erin Hills, a links style layout that weighs in at a beefy 7,800 yards. The fact is, numerous lies in the fescue were nearly unplayable anyway, which along with wind is the course's best defense against the top players in the world.

The last U.S. Open played without both Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods was 1993.

"I feel pretty good about coming here this week even though 2017 has been a bit of a transitional year for me given what has been happening off the golf course", he said.

The first-round of the US Open will be on Thursday, June 15.

"We have 60 yards from left line to right line", McIlroy said. I've played eight or nine rounds of golf [in the past 10 days].

The rib stress fracture, which McIlroy suffered in the close season, flared up as he lost a play-off to Graeme Storm at the South Africa Open in January.

Las Vegas sports books have Scott at 25-1 to win the tournament, Hoffman and Na each at 150-1, Piercy at 200-1 and Oda 2,000-1. "If you've got 50 or 60 yards to hit into and you're complaining about the fescue that's wider than that, I don't think that's an issue. Tough conditions, windy conditions, rain whatever it is, as long as it's harder, I feel like I play a lot better in conditions like that".

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It's more than worth the trouble for the 30-year-old Mexico native who now lives in SC and plays most of his golf on the Tour.

"There was a period there, in sort of '10 and '11, and obviously '14, as well, but '10 and '11 where I would start Majors very well, and it's just a matter of figuring out why that was". The result would be many short iron shots for a player Azinger called "one of the great iron players who ever lived".

"Instead of hitting five bags of balls, I'll hit two, just something like that", he said.

If Diaz gets Mickelson's spot, he will be paired with Steve Stricker and Stewart Cink.

The four-time major victor reported some discomfort last time out at The Players Championship last month, but insists the rib will not be an issue this week.

"I wasn't crying when I saw that rain this morning". There was also a fear that we could be in for six-hour rounds with players looking for balls in the fescue and trying to hammer it out of there.

"That's not the way you want to start off. That's why I like this golf course, it allows you to be aggressive and swing freely and get after it". I mean, not really many limitations.

"I'm honored enough to be here, " he said. He produced a T9 and a T4 at the Open in 2014-15, and his T9 at this year's Masters and T6 at The Players show that he still musters the mojo for the big events. "If I stay patient and stick to the process and the game-plan, preparing the way I should and doing the right things, it will come". "Then, there's a time in between waves where I can go back in and rest, and then wait again".

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