Drive for show, putt for dough, goes the saying on the PGA Tour.
Ahead of this week’s second Major of the season, the U.S. Open at Erin Hills in Wisconsin will feature a typical U.S. Open layout that rewards accuracy off the tee, severely punishes errant tee shots and requires a deft putting touch on lightning fast greens.
There is another aspect of the tournament, however, that is equally critically to driving accuracy and putting prowess, and that is the ability to get up and down reliably from just off the greens.
U.S. Open rough is notoriously thick, to the extent that professionals undoubtedly prefer playing from the sand bunkers, where they at least have an inkling at how the ball will come off the clubface and react. Out of thick rough, it is anyone’s guess.
Jason Day and Adam Scott are well aware of this and they have put in extra time at polishing their short-game skills.
Day has made six starts in the U.S. Open and has finished runner-up on two occasions. Those results would be enviable to most golfers, but Day has loftier ambitions.
No one is better from just off the green than Day. His overall ranking has slipped from number one to number three in the world, but when it comes to strokes gained in the short game, Day is at the top of the pile.
The United State Golf Association oversees the U.S. Open, so things are a bit different from the usual routine of the PGA Tour.
Day and Scott are both chasing their second Major title. Scott is making his 16th start in the U.S. Open, where his best result was tied fourth in 2015.
The two top Aussies will have three of their fellow countrymen in the field when the first round tees off Thursday, U.S. time. Marc Leishman is one, Nick Flanagan, making his second start since 2004, is another and Wade Ormsby is the other.