Do you smell it?
Beginning Thursday, PGA will play their second major of the year, the U.S. Open in San Francisco, California at the esteemed Olympic Club. This is the 5th time it will play host, having last played in 1998 when Lee Janzen shot even par, 280 for the victory.
It’s being said that this week’s set up of the course will be the hardest U.S. Open to date. The first six holes could be described as one of the most difficult stretches in golf–the suicidal six.
Hole 1: 520 yard par 4
- It was played as a par 5 in previous Open Championships. It’s a tight, slight dogleg to the right with 2 bunkers about 50 yards in front of what looks like a false green. The actual green is elevated slightly.
Hole 2: 428 yard par 4
- The hole has been lengthened and the fairway narrowed (34 yards wide). The green slopes from back right to front left.
Hole 3: 247 yard par 3
- The green slopes front to back—look for shots to land on the front.
Hole 4: 430 yard par 4
- With a 29 yard wide fairway, keeping the driver in the bag is a good decision, especially since it’s a shorter par 4. Look for shots to draw off the tee. The fairway slopes to the right. There doesn’t appear to be any bunkers around the green.
Hole 5: 498 yard par 4
- This hole is much longer and was lengthened 40 yards. Golfers will be fading their shots off the tee to a right to left sloping fairway, which is again very narrow (31 yards).
Hole 6: 490 yard par 4
- This hole was lengthened 45 yards and the fairway ranges in width from 25 to 31 yards.
Looking at these 6 holes as well as the other 12, golfers are going to be playing a tight, long golf course that is not littered with bunkers. There are trees lining nearly all of the fairways on each side. Playing golf in California is interesting enough because you’re near the bay, but add in these large trees and a bit of fog, you’re going to have difficulty judging the wind and how it will affect the ball.
So who has a shot to win this week?
As usual, it’s anybody’s game. Over the last month or so, Jason Dufner has won twice, Zach Johnson once, Tiger Woods won two weeks ago at the Memorial and last week Dustin Johnson won the FedEx St. Jude Classic. All of these guys are capable of winning this week and two of them have won at least one major (Woods, Johnson).
Last week Lee Westwood won on the European Tour in Sweden, jumping on a plane to travel all the way to San Francisco.
World number 1, Luke Donald won last month as well and like Westwood is still looking for his first major championship.
Andy Zhang is the youngest player to ever play in the U.S. Open at 14 years old.
Besides the big story of Tiger having won two weeks ago and “oh my gosh, Tiger is back!” probably the biggest story is the Thursday/Friday pairing of Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, and Phil Mickelson. They tee off at 10:33 am eastern time on the 10th tee and at 4:18 pm eastern on Friday on the first tee.
I know for sure I will be watching on tv and on the computer. There’s nothing quite like major championship golf. The U.S. Open is really anyone’s tournament.
Time to tee off!