June 17, 2011

Two Reasons The U.S. Open Is Great

1.  It's designed with a winning score in mind.
    
     I find it amazing that the USGA tries to manipulate the U.S. Open courses so that the winner will be at even par.  I find it even more amazing that they get it as close as they do.  The last seven U.S. Open champions finished with a score between -4 and +5.  Taking a course like Pebble Beach, which plays like most other courses during the AT&T Pro-Am, and trying to shave off just enough strokes by expanding the rough and watering greens less often and things like that is a ridiculously tough task.  In 2010, they did just that.
     It's also interesting as a viewer to watch the competition between the players and course designers unfold.  Even when you think someone will win with a great score, you can never know for sure.  Last year, I was really annoyed by Dustin Johnson and his 3-stroke lead at 6 under par after the third day.  But somehow he managed a collapse on the last day and Graeme McDowell won with, you guessed it, even par.

2.  There's no other golf tournament like it.

     A tournament with the best players in the world facing a course designed to keep them over par.  It's brilliant.  The other majors are only interesting to us because they have a lot of history, rich guys wearing green, or because the PGA feels the need to have a "championship".  Really, they're normal tournaments like any other.  The U.S. Open brings that extra something the other majors don't have.
     I think golf needs more gimmicks like the U.S. Open.  Challenges in golf are often too subtle for the casual viewer to notice.  Things like a greenside bunker that the wind blows toward, or a green with a weird break to the left.  I can only think of three awesome gimmick holes:  the island green at Sawgrass, the random fairway tree on 18 at Pebble Beach, and the cart path cutting through the 18th fairway at St. Andrews (which is too close to the tee to really come into play because, well, it's a cart path).  If the PGA is really worried about getting better ratings, they'll add holes with things like:
     -a random strip of cement 300 yards off the tee, so someone can bounce their drive off of it
     -a fairway littered with rocks, trees, tiny water hazards, tiny bunkers, etc. so you never know what will to happen to that shot
     -drives and approaches over trees that are just the right height to be annoying
     -shots from or onto a tall cliff
     -a green with one of those mini-golf volcano-looking hole locations
     -extreme fairway slope
     -a 50-yard mini-version of the Sawgrass hole, just to watch a pro botch a 50-yard tee shot
     -inverted bunkers a.k.a big hills of sand

     Maybe that would be too much for golf to handle.  But I think if you had all of that on one course, that would be the most entertaining tournament to happen every year.

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff. Gotta love the U.S. Open. http://corytellallsports.blogspot.com/

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