There had to be some consequences to some of golf’s biggest bombers turning par fives into driver- short iron holes.
Those consequences have reared their head, although we stop short of saying said head is ugly, at Erin Hills Wisconsin, site of the 2017 U.S. Open, where the USGA has rolled out the longest-ever layout for a Major championship at 7741 yards (7078 metres).
If that were not long enough, even the big hitters are confronted with the reality of thunderstorms on Monday and Tuesday that will kill any roll the players might otherwise expect.
The organisers did compensate somewhat by giving players the widest fairways ever played in a U.S. Open, but plenty of the players were complaining vociferously about the knee-fescue that will make simply finding errant drives problematic, let alone playable.
Other players, most notably Rory McIllroy, have basically told the others, “Shut up and play.”
It always boils down to whose ox is being gored, does it not?
McIllroy is arguable the longest and most accurate driver of the ball currently in the game. He reacted unfavourably to news that the USGA, bowing to player complaints, had cut the rough back.
“Really? They’re cutting it back? We have 60 yards (of fairway) from left line to right line,” McIlroy opined. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here, if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”
The weather forecast for the tournament offers relief from the rain, so if true, the course cold firm up and assist the players who do not have McIllroy’s length and it could be assumed that the world’s best players should be able to keep the ball within the avenue supplied, so it would objectively seem that it is time to stop whining and start swinging.