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Steve Kline

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: US Open set-up -- where's Tom Meeks when you need him?
« Reply #25 on: June 19, 2011, 10:57:07 AM »
I think the biggest "problem" isn't even being addressed....equipment.

These guys are hitting driver 9 iron on a 480+ yard par 4 (18). This is just stupid!  I don't recall this happening last time around at Congressional.

I don't blame the course, I blame how equipment has made super long holes into driver, short iron.  Unfortunately it only makes things worse for us weekend warriors because courses get longer and tougher based on a handful of pro events and the eventual monkey see- monkey do nonsense of local course operators.

Lets see these guys put up these numbers when they are hitting 4 and 5 irons into these greens instead of wedge thru 8 iron.

In 1997 Congressional did not have one par 4 over 460 yards. This year it has seven. Distance really is out of control.

Phil McDade

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: US Open set-up -- where's Tom Meeks when you need him?
« Reply #26 on: June 19, 2011, 11:09:29 AM »
I think the biggest "problem" isn't even being addressed....equipment.

These guys are hitting driver 9 iron on a 480+ yard par 4 (18). This is just stupid!  I don't recall this happening last time around at Congressional.

I don't blame the course, I blame how equipment has made super long holes into driver, short iron.  Unfortunately it only makes things worse for us weekend warriors because courses get longer and tougher based on a handful of pro events and the eventual monkey see- monkey do nonsense of local course operators.

Lets see these guys put up these numbers when they are hitting 4 and 5 irons into these greens instead of wedge thru 8 iron.

In 1997 Congressional did not have one par 4 over 460 yards. This year it has seven. Distance really is out of control.

And scoring was much more difficult in 1997 than this year. That speaks of set-up, to me.

I have never thought lengthening courses, for the top players, makes courses harder. Making them faster and firmer seems to.

Kalen Braley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: US Open set-up -- where's Tom Meeks when you need him?
« Reply #27 on: June 19, 2011, 12:44:41 PM »
Phil,

I agree that graduated rough is less penal.  But from what i've observed this year, most of the balls seem to be either in the fairway or way off-line.  It seems the vast majority of guys are still playing out of the thick stuff when they are offline.  That being said, this is just my impression and I don't have access to any "official" stats of how many balls were played out of the intermediate rough vs. the long rough.


I went and looked at stats on PGATour.com. 

The approx median distance off the tee in 1997 was: 265 yards.
The approx median distance off the tee in 2011:   290 yards.

That's an extra 25 yards on "average".  Even if you throw away par 3s and a few short holes where they don't hit driver, lets say 6 holes, then 25 x 12 = 300 yards of extra distance gained off the tee.  Then calculate these guys hit their irons longer than ever and the fact that balls are far easier to control....(There were no pro V's in 1997).

All of this adds up to a good recipe for making the case that even given a few holes are a tad longer, the course is playing that much "easier" just 14 years later.

Yes the case can be made that the greens are softer and more receptive, but I don't see that as a setup issue....that's a mother nature issue.

Kalen Braley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: US Open set-up -- where's Tom Meeks when you need him?
« Reply #28 on: June 19, 2011, 12:47:49 PM »
I think the biggest "problem" isn't even being addressed....equipment.

These guys are hitting driver 9 iron on a 480+ yard par 4 (18). This is just stupid!  I don't recall this happening last time around at Congressional.

....

It's downhill. But how much. I hit driver, 8 iron on 10 at Indian Canyon, and it's about as long.


Not sure which tee you played it from....

The whites are like 450, the blues 470 so that's about right.  Not sure how the elevation difference compares though.

But that's still some good playing.  I'll bet you only go driver/8 iron maybe 2 times in 10 tries!  ;)
« Last Edit: June 19, 2011, 12:49:31 PM by Kalen Braley »

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: US Open set-up -- where's Tom Meeks when you need him?
« Reply #29 on: June 19, 2011, 01:10:40 PM »

Johnny Miller during yesterday's broadcast said Congressional features only three holes (10, 11, and 18) with any amount of risk in them at all. Congressional's probably among the weaker tier of courses to host the Open, but the USGA found a way with Torrey Pines to make the course challenging. Of the top nine players on the leaderboard, everyone save for Yang broke 70; Westwood hardly looked like he broke a sweat in shooting 65 yesterday.


I guess Johnny is one of those guys who think water is the only real hazard.

A similar comment by a former USGA President was the catalyst for defacing Oak Hill in the 1970's -- "there aren't enough holes where you can make a double bogey."  Now, Oak Hill before the changes was better than Congressional has ever been, but still, let's not demand more risk.  Tour pros don't take on many risks, anyway.

For all those who are counting how many players are under par, take four away from their scores tonight [because there's an extra par 5 on the card], and see how many are still under par.  And then blame it on the soft conditions, not the course or the set-up.

Phil McDade

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: US Open set-up -- where's Tom Meeks when you need him?
« Reply #30 on: June 19, 2011, 01:48:45 PM »
Tom:

Oakmont strikes me as having much more risk than Congressional with less water. But then it's generally regarded as a superior course.

I think folks are making too much about the addition of a single par 5, played once a round, changing the dynamic of scoring. Torrey Pines, notably, and Pebble Beach (as it always does) played much more difficult in recent years than Congressional at par 71.

If it's "soft" conditions, OK -- but aren't there reams of weather data for the greater Washington DC-area going back years and years? If, taken in the aggregate, those reveal the likelihood of certain kinds of conditions, shouldn't there be some way to compensate for that re. set-up? It's an honest question.

If Oak Hill doesn't want to be defaced, it should stop hosting major tournaments. These courses know the drill when they invite the USGA to come in and change a course for one week's worth of play.

To me, the fairways at Congressional don't look like they have much roll-out, which lends itself to more aggressive play off the tee, which results in longer drives and shorter approach shots. The greens have some contour, but don't look too problematic for the pros this week. The bunkers look soft and easy to get out of for up-and-downs around the greens.


Scott Stearns

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: US Open set-up -- where's Tom Meeks when you need him?
« Reply #31 on: June 19, 2011, 01:56:46 PM »
I think the set up is fine.  lets give McIlroy credit for some amazing golf.  (McElroy was the lead singer and driver of the Winebago in Blues Brothers)
Away from Rory M, the course is playing mighty tough.  Agree with Tom D that 280 is par anymore for tour pros (might be 272).

I for one dont think the Open is supposed to be won at even to plus seven EVERY year---i think some years it should be really hard and some years less so.  Important thing is for players to be forced to hit driver more than usual, and forced to contend with a 180-200 yard carry when they dont hit the 26 yard fairway.  Some years this should be deep rough, other years it should be a crapshoot--a la Pinehurst #2.

Phil McDade

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: US Open set-up -- where's Tom Meeks when you need him?
« Reply #32 on: June 19, 2011, 02:43:31 PM »
I think the set up is fine.  lets give McIlroy credit for some amazing golf.  (McElroy was the lead singer and driver of the Winebago in Blues Brothers)
Away from Rory M, the course is playing mighty tough.  Agree with Tom D that 280 is par anymore for tour pros (might be 272).

I for one dont think the Open is supposed to be won at even to plus seven EVERY year---i think some years it should be really hard and some years less so.  Important thing is for players to be forced to hit driver more than usual, and forced to contend with a 180-200 yard carry when they dont hit the 26 yard fairway.  Some years this should be deep rough, other years it should be a crapshoot--a la Pinehurst #2.


Scott:

The lack of rough is justified at Pinehurst given the extreme nature of hitting greens at that course, the challenge of recoveries around the green, and a tradition of firmness and quickness through the green due to the sand-based soils the course sits on. Even par and -1 have won the two US Opens there in recent years -- a fine and fair test, by my standards.

The US Open has been won exactly once in the past 40 years with a score of +7 -- Irwin at WFoot in 1974, a tournament most folks concede was set-up in direct response to Miller's 63 at Oakmont the year before. Even recent Opens with low winning totals (Olympia Fields, notably) had relatively few players under par for the tournament (Pebble Beach 2000 doesn't count -- the outlier of all outliers ;D).

This should be the one tournament a year that's a grind for these guys, with no let-up from start-to-finish. It ought to be distinctly different than the other majors -- Augusta with its great risk-and-reward ying and yang, the British Open with the vagaries of links golf and wind, the PGA an opportunity to make birdies and eagles on tough but fair courses.

The US Open should be borderline unfair. That makes it a test of who can handle the hardest course conditions these guys will see all year long. That's as much a test of identifying a champion as engineering a back-nine blitz at Augusta, or playing the wind and avoiding bunkers at an Open Championship course.

George Pazin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: US Open set-up -- where's Tom Meeks when you need him?
« Reply #33 on: June 19, 2011, 02:44:16 PM »
Regarding the soft conditions:

How much of it is the weather, and how much of it is because of how much water you need to keep greens perfect at 14 on the stimp?

Honest question, I don't know much about grass. I remember when things were a little soft at Valhalla in 2000, I thought it was the weather, but an esteemed poster pointed out when you have speedy bent grass greens in the South, you need to keep them soft to keep them alive; the implication being Bermuda would have been firmer. Just wondering it this might be similar.

-----

Give me Shinney '04 or Sandwich '03 any day, those were infinitely more interesting to me.

-----

Boy, nothing defends par better than long, soft and perfect greens, no? :)

Why in the world aren't they playing the full course?
« Last Edit: June 19, 2011, 02:48:16 PM by George Pazin »
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

Tim Martin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: US Open set-up -- where's Tom Meeks when you need him?
« Reply #34 on: June 19, 2011, 03:05:21 PM »

Why in the world aren't they playing the full course?

Amen. If they continue to plunge into red numbers in droves why are the tees up?

Phil McDade

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: US Open set-up -- where's Tom Meeks when you need him?
« Reply #35 on: June 19, 2011, 03:23:49 PM »
So far today, a 67, two 68s, and two 69s posted by those playing early (i.e., those who made the cut who are playing the worst this week). That's the kind of final-round toughness I was looking for.
 ??? :P :-\

Carl Rogers

Re: US Open set-up -- where's Tom Meeks when you need him?
« Reply #36 on: June 19, 2011, 05:18:20 PM »
Given the amount of $$$ spent on it over such an extended period of time , it is a real dissappointment, agreed.

No real identity or memorablity.  bunkering very uninspiring .... etc.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2011, 05:26:59 PM by Carl Rogers »

Tim Martin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: US Open set-up -- where's Tom Meeks when you need him?
« Reply #37 on: June 19, 2011, 08:27:31 PM »
How is Mike Davis going to fair in the aftermath of Congressional? I don`t think he gets a complete pass especially when it came to moving the tees up and shortening the golf course.

Phil McDade

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: US Open set-up -- where's Tom Meeks when you need him?
« Reply #38 on: June 19, 2011, 08:43:49 PM »
The ugly truth:

-- Lowest aggregate score under par in US Open history by the winner;
-- 20 players total under par for the tourney (2 at even par);
-- Seven holes (40 percent of the holes) played at even par or easier during the course of the tournament (including the scores of all of those who didn't make the cut).
-- Robert Garrigus became one of the few players in the history of the US Open to shoot four rounds under par, and didn't come close to winning.
-- Three players -- Garcia, Slocum and Love -- never shot a round over par during the tourney, and none got within three shots of the runner-up.

Welcome to the St. Jude Classic. Good work on the set-up, Mr. Davis. ;)


Jamie Van Gisbergen

Re: US Open set-up -- where's Tom Meeks when you need him?
« Reply #39 on: June 19, 2011, 08:58:02 PM »
The ugly truth:

-- Lowest aggregate score under par in US Open history by the winner;
-- 20 players total under par for the tourney (2 at even par);
-- Seven holes (40 percent of the holes) played at even par or easier during the course of the tournament (including the scores of all of those who didn't make the cut).
-- Robert Garrigus became one of the few players in the history of the US Open to shoot four rounds under par, and didn't come close to winning.
-- Three players -- Garcia, Slocum and Love -- never shot a round over par during the tourney, and none got within three shots of the runner-up.

Welcome to the St. Jude Classic. Good work on the set-up, Mr. Davis. ;)



Frankly, the poor weather had a lot to do with this. Give those guys soft fairways and soft greens and they will shoot way under par at any golf course. Pebble played as well as it did last year because they had perfect weather, wind and a firm golf course, especially the greens. The golf course was really featureless, and it got torn up. A better course would have held up better, but any course would have been beat up this week; just look at what happens to Pebble during the Crosby.

Dan Herrmann

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: US Open set-up -- where's Tom Meeks when you need him?
« Reply #40 on: June 19, 2011, 09:10:16 PM »
I think Davis did a great job.  The best golfer was correctly identified.

Jamie Van Gisbergen

Re: US Open set-up -- where's Tom Meeks when you need him?
« Reply #41 on: June 19, 2011, 09:20:36 PM »
I think Davis did a great job.  The best golfer was correctly identified.

For sure.

Without rain and with slightly cooler weather these past few weeks, allowing the greens to be brick hard and super fast, to go with firm fairways, and the results would have been different, I think. I wonder if this can be used as positive proof that flat, fast greens are not the way to go, because if you get any rain, it just turns greens into driving range targets with pool table smooth surfaces. That was the problem, the greens were too flat to provide challenge. Want difficult? Transport the greens from Tobacco Road to Royal New Kent, run them at about 12 with super firmness and play the course all the way back. But so long as guys are hitting wedges into greens designed to receive 6 and 7 irons, it just gets stupid. So, you either have to make courses foolishly long or make sure the greens are designed in such a way as to accept wedge shots; most courses don't have enough land to do the former or memberships with playing skill enough to do the latter and still be enjoyable.

Kalen Braley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: US Open set-up -- where's Tom Meeks when you need him?
« Reply #42 on: June 19, 2011, 09:30:30 PM »
The rain is just an excuse.  Congressional is a joke, a disgrace.  It should never be allowed to hold a major again.  It's way too easy.  Simple as that.

No one took the bait Shiv, but well played.  It would seem the Rory story pretty much made more noise than anything else..and deservedly so.  But no doubt, the east coast bias seem to be alive and doing very well.

P.S.  In Shivas fashion, if those greens were stimping at 14+ I'll eat my shoe.  I'm thinking 12 tops...I just didn't see the insane runouts like I have at other venues like Oakmont, Shinny, etc.

bill_k

Re: US Open set-up -- where's Tom Meeks when you need him?
« Reply #43 on: June 19, 2011, 10:15:13 PM »
I will agree that the rain contributed to softening the golf course and making it more agreeable to scoring. However, I saw numerous instances where a player missed a fairway by 5-10 yards and was not only able to advance the ball-he was also able to stop it quickly near the hole.
The "primary" rough did not look like anything to be feared in many places.

Rory deserved to win and I doubt the outcome would have been any different had the winning score been level par....but I think the USGA should be a little embarrassed at the challenenge (or lack thereof) it was able to present to the world's best players this year.

Matthew Rose

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: US Open set-up -- where's Tom Meeks when you need him?
« Reply #44 on: June 19, 2011, 10:53:19 PM »
The rough was simply too benign.

Guys were sucking the ball back 20 feet out of rough. That just shouldn't happen. They were way too generous with the first cut.
American-Australian. Trackman Course Guy. Fatalistic sports fan. Drummer. Bass player. Father. Cat lover.

Richard Choi

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: US Open set-up -- where's Tom Meeks when you need him?
« Reply #45 on: June 19, 2011, 10:58:35 PM »
I am sure Congressional is a perfectly fine course for members and guest, and perhaps for some tour events.

But as a US Open course, it is a joke.

You can't just blame the weather. The last two US Opens at BPB were soggy mess and they still didn't set records like this. US Open is not like other tournaments, it is supposed to be a tourture chamber to see who has the mental fortitude and the game to survive. I will puke if I see another ball sucking back to the pin (out of the rough even!!!???). That was no US Open.

I think Rory is a fantastic player, but I would like to see how he does on a REAL US Open course setup.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2011, 11:02:15 PM by Richard Choi »

Jason Walker

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: US Open set-up -- where's Tom Meeks when you need him?
« Reply #46 on: June 19, 2011, 10:59:52 PM »
Richard-
They could have played this year on the moon and Rory still wins by a comfortable margin.

Richard Choi

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: US Open set-up -- where's Tom Meeks when you need him?
« Reply #47 on: June 19, 2011, 11:03:20 PM »
I would like to see how Rory does when he can't just fire at the pins. Does he have the smarts? I have no idea since all he did was shoot at the pin at this "US Open".

Matthew Sander

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: US Open set-up -- where's Tom Meeks when you need him?
« Reply #48 on: June 19, 2011, 11:05:59 PM »
Yeah, it seems that Congressional's primary defense is near over-the-top rough, and it just wasn't there this year. The graduated cut seems to work well at other venues where difficulty can come from other defenses. Courses like Oakmont and Winged Foot seem to be hard as nails even with the graduated rough approach because the greens and bunkers are so difficult. Torrey seemed to hold up with the graduated rough. If I remember correctly though, the greens were so much firmer (and faster).


Eric_Terhorst

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: US Open set-up -- where's Tom Meeks when you need him?
« Reply #49 on: June 19, 2011, 11:49:28 PM »
But as a US Open course, it is a joke.

Yeah, I guess these guys found it really amusing:

Major Champions
M. Kaymer +3
L Glover +4
P Harrington +5
P Mickelson  +7
T Hamilton +8
S Cink MC
D Toms MC
T Immelman MC
J Furyk MC
A Cabrera MC
G Ogilvy MC
M Campbell MC

Notables
L Donald + 5
B Watson +9
H Mahan MC
R Fowler MC
J Rose MC
A Scott MC
P Casey MC
I Poulter MC
C Villegas MC
K Choi MC

If you add 4 to these scores relative to par to compare them to'97 scores as suggested by Tom Doak, you get some pretty ugly numbers.  Not that most people care.  Those of us who are not hyper-critical saw some compelling golf from the best players in the world, and one guy schooling them all.  I thought it was fun to watch.

If the set-up had been "traditional U.S Open" we'd probably be 632 posts deep into a thread about how dull it is to watch players gouge it out of the rough repeatedly at a U.S Open  :P





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