The US Open comes to the Pacific Northwest for the first time in its history as it heads to the Chambers Bay course just outside Seattle in Washington this week.
The course certainly seems to have split opinion amongst the pros, with some like Ryan Palmer calling it “ridiculous” and Ian Poulter saying it was a “farce” before he had even seen it.
There are multiple elements about this course that have upset some of the pros and cast this as perhaps the most controversial US Open in recent history.
So what is getting the players in such a froth?
What it is about this course that is getting so many of the pros into a lather?
Well, firstly the fairways will be wide, which is unusual for US Opens. Secondly, the greens have some huge slopes on them which will make putting difficult and some shots nigh-on impossible if you miss the greens.
But what is really unusual about this venue is that it will have some very quirky features – sloping tee boxes, blind shots and perhaps most controversially of all, some holes that will play up to 100 yards different in length depending on which tee box is used, so some days holes will play as par fours and another day as par fives.
Whilst some pros have blasted the course however, some are more complimentary. Phil Mickelson, for instance, said he thought it was “wonderful,” adding “It’s not going to be your typical US Open, hit and hack out of tough. You’re going to be able to control it much more like British Opens than I’ve ever seen, where there’s a lot of room and a lot of firm fairway cut.’
As Jack Nicklaus said, they do not build golf courses to suit your game, you have to suit your game to the course. So it may be the player who manages their game and enjoys the unusual challenge that Chambers Bay presents that triumphs this week.
It appears to be an advantage this week to have visited the course and learnt some of its quirks. The Director of the USGA, Mike Davis, certainly thought so when he said – in a statement that generated a lot of controversy – that:
“I would contend that there is no way — no way — a player would have success here at Chambers Bay unless he really studies the golf course and learns it. The idea of coming in and playing two practice rounds and having your caddie just walk it and using your yardage book, that person’s done [and] will not win the US Open.”
Players like Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods have been following Davis’s advice and visiting the course in preparation for this week’s events.
It will be interesting to see come the end of the week whether Davis’s comments turn out to be true or whether someone can come here “fresh” and still win the trophy.
Whatever does happen, it seems a player with imagination and who can handle adversity is most likely to triumph at Chambers Bay.
As Jack Nicklaus also said, he always enjoyed it when other players moaned about a course because for every one that did, he knew it was one less player he needed to beat that week.
The big question this week then will be – how many players will beat themselves and fall foul of this mighty course’s demands?
Watch out for our full betting preview later today.