In my opinion, the USGA has removed most of the quirky element of luck from its major championship. They do it in the name of testing the abilities of the players, and justlike th design of many modern golf courses, the influx of controlled elements is what eliminates the unnatural occurances that could occur with play.
Take for instance fairway lines and rough. The typical US Open set-up means really narrow fairways and very thick rough. It also comes with the thinking that they are going to make the competitor pay for missing the fairway. But whqt happens if you get a player that doesn't hit a lot of fairways, but has an exceptional recovery game from normal to heavy rough? To me, the USGA is penalizing that player because he isn't accurate from the tee, but is accurate from the rough. As viewers, we are robbed of seeing exciting recoveries from these areas simply because it isn't part of the set-up Don't get me wrong, I think that testing a player for his abilities is what the US Open is all about, but what happens if a player can play a certain shot real well, and his opponents play it real bad? I guess what I'm saying most is that it favors only one kind of play--long, staight and down the middle. So, in an effort to keep the ball in the fairway, and as Pat has hi-lighted, the competitor uses a long iron off of the tee, which in most cases, they hit straight and long in terms of modern ball flight. With they're swing speeds and golf ball, what competitor wouldn't? What about the exceptional competitor that can putt, chip and pitch like the wind? The one whose game is in his short lofted irons and sraight blade? The current set-ups eliminate a lot of unique play to produce one champion, and this is why you have had some pretty obscure ones over the years. Even the British Open tried the extreme set-up only to wisly get rid of it. The tried it again at Carnoustie, which in my opinion is one of the toughest Championship courses in the game on a normal day. They wisely changed that thinking, and hopefully it will stay.
That's my take.