The Easiest U.S. Open Ever?
By mustang6560 on 6/22/11
I will avoid the temptation to blog about Tiger Woods - even though he posted on Twitter that he is going to miss the AT&T National at the end of the month per doctors orders.

Rather, I want to discuss the criticism the USGA, Mike Davis (Executive Director of the USGA) and Congressional Country Club received after this year's U.S. Open. Apparently, because 20 people finished under par, some people are disappointed with the 111th U.S. Open. Some people have gone as far as to say Mike Davis should be fired and that Congressional should never be able host the U.S. Open again.

I understand the U.S. Open is supposed to be different than the other three majors - it's supposed to be the most difficult, the most mentally challenging out of the four.

The course was soft. The greens were receptive. The rough was graduated. I get it - the course did not setup in way that "protected" par like previous years. However, to even hint that Rory McIlroy's victory was in any way less impressive because 19 other people finished under par is wrong. In my opinion, I enjoyed watching Rory put together four solid rounds at Congressional this year much more than I did watching Graeme McDowell barely survive at Pebble Beach last year.

I don't think the reputation of the U.S. Open or the USGA is forever tainted like some have suggested. If the USGA really wants to "protect" par, it should focus on the equipment pros use instead of how a course is setup. The modern equipment pros use is far superior than the old school persimmon woods and mashie niblicks. Don't let golfers use a "9-iron" that has 42 degrees of loft. Ban wedges with over 56 degrees of loft. Stop letting pros adjust the loft and lie of their drivers.

I am perfectly OK with the results from this year's U.S. Open and I hope you are too. We saw a stellar performance from Rory McIlroy, which resulted in numerous new U.S Open records. Sure, we also saw several other players under par but we also saw notable players like Phil Mickelson and Luke Donald struggle.

What I hope doesn't happen is the USGA succumbs to the pressure of the golfing world and make next year's U.S. Open at Olympic Club finish like the Massacre at Winged Foot in 1974. The year before, Johnny Miller won on a "soft" Oakmont but the USGA got even the following year at Winged Foot with Hale Irwin winning with a whooping score of seven-over par. Does that make him a more valiant winner? Nope, he simply was the best at sucking.

Mike Davis promises this won't happen.

photo by Keith Allison

[ comments ]
Kickntrue says:
You can't do much about rain. They said pre-rain they had the greens running at 14 1/2. That would've been BRUTAL and explained the rough length. once they rough was cut- and the rain came... what are you going to do?
birdieXris says:
I don't think it was TOO easy, but it was easier than it should have been. You've got guys under par and top 10 that are hitting a little over 50% of the fairways. that's not US Open golf. Rory deserved to win and had the conditions been more penal he still would have won. He hit the fairways and greens and made putts. Everyone was playing the same golf course and he just played it better - easy or hard.
birdieXris says:
OK maybe it WAS too easy -- according to my overall stats for the year, figuratively speaking -- if i'd have had an average day, i would have probably been tied for 40th according to the stats.
srogers13 says:
People talk about the rain with the greens, but don't forget about the effect of the rain on the fairways. Usually the fairways are running about twelve on the stimp, and a lot of balls run off the fairway, and that did not happen this week, either.
nickmomrik says:
I don't think anyone can argue that Rory's win is less impressive because of the conditions, but the easy conditions definitely allowed him to break all of those records. When Tiger blew away the field he was the only player under par. This year, 2nd place was at -8 and would have been enough to win nearly every other U.S. Open in history.

I look forward to the U.S. Open each year because it's the one week where I get to see the pros play like us hackers. Jason Day played the last 45 holes without a bogey. How is that not too easy for a U.S. Open?

The rain made the course easier, but the USGA was moving tee boxes up on par 5s because of less roll in the fairways. They could have easily moved the tees back and made them into a lot tougher holes.

The rough didn't seem like a penalty either. Usually all they can do is hack in back out to the fairway, but not this year. I saw a lot of good lies in the rough where they could still get to the green with ease.
preny says:
"Stop letting pros adjust the loft and lie of their drivers"

dottomm says:
Day One - What was I watching? Rory played a perfect round of golf. It was boring to watch. One mistake. A single mistake is not what Golf makes.
legitimatebeef says:
Arguably this year's Texas Open and Arnold Palmer were more difficult than the USO. Let's face it, the USGA bungled this one a little. Some people will say that par is just an arbitrary number. Well all numbers are arbitrary then if you think about it. Par is actually one of the more meaningful numbers there is in golf.
dartboss04 says:
in my opinion it was much too easy...i think rory's win was impressive because of how he dominated the field, but due to the condition his assault on the records are not as exciting...i read an article on mike davis and he seems like a really smart golf guy...i hope this doesn't affect his standing too can't control the weather...

not sure if this is just my lack of knowledge on what and how long it takes to prepare a course for the open, but couldn't they have had the rough grown out completely and only graduated it if the greens were running at the 14.5? seems like they should have some flexibility depending on the weather can always cut it shorter, but after it's cut it certainly won't fill in within a couple days...

in my opinion
falcon50driver says:
At the Valero Texas open, it's possible to get out amongst the cactus, and wind up with a, 12 over par, sixteen. If you're not careful. Ask Kevin Na.
Shallowface says:
It was like watching the Kemper Open, not the US open.

That's why I think everyone is making way too much out of Rory's performance.

He may well break every record in the book.

He may well have been just another guy who had the week of his life.

Or something in between.

But it will be a long time before we really know.
Banker85 says:
who wants the equipment pulled back to 40 years ago? Mustang either you are playing devils advocate or ignorant. No1 would want to see that. doesnt matter what loft there 9I is or if they play wedges that are more than 56*. the course is the test of the US Open. So are you suggesting only at the open should they have to use persimmon woods and niblicks. Who cares its done and over with. they cant control the weather but like dartboss said they could have waited on cutting the rough and keep the tees back. whats done is done.
wrhall02 says:
I think the set up was fine, the weather softened the course to a point where it was not "brutal" (which is the norm for US Opens). Par was out of reach for many big names...the course punished bad shots and rewarded good shots.
If no one was able to break par, everybody would be complaining it was too tough.
troybj2 says:
Congressional played as easy as a US Open course will ever play. I agree with the equipment argument; though not necessarily with every related solution. Equipment is an issue bigger than the US Open.

The weather was the key to the scoring compared to the US Open "norm". The rain during the tournament got a lot of talk; it did soften the course. But I think the bigger weather component was the 2-3 weeks prior to the tournament. The DC area had many days with temps in the 90s and very little rain. Simply put, the grass stopped growing. The rough had no teeth which was easy to see by the way the players attacked the soft greens. Playable rough, soft fairways, and receptive greens led to a lot (compared to normal) of good scores.
cathompson says:
In contrast to Rorys performance, Tigers other worldly masterpiece @ Pebble in 2000, where he finished at 12 under and T2 was +3, is truly the US open record. It sucks that Mike Davis allowed the record book to suggest otherwise. Davis should be fired. 20 guys were under par in a US OPEN!!! what a shame.
Matt Otskey says:
Like most people said, Rory played better than anyone that week and deserved to win. Without a doubt. You can't take anything away from how he played. The course for a US Open was very easy, yes. The thing that irritates me is how everyone started comparing Rory's runaway to Tiger's 2000 runaway at Pebble. I mean, there was ONE person under par. ONE. And he wasn't just -2 or -3.. He was -12 while the next closest guy finished at +3. That is insanity. That is one guy being on such another level than anyone else. Pebble in 2000 played like a true US Open course in terms of difficulty, and Tiger just ripped it to shreds. Rory ripped Congressional apart this year, but the conditions were so much more favorable as evidenced by the number of players well under par.
jwilder78 says:
It was clearly too easy, the scores show that overwhelmingly. Was that someone's fault, or beyond their control? Who knows. Bottom line, despite Rory's awesome play, which would have worked regardless of setup (nearly every fairway, every green), there was no tangible drama on any holes b/c there was no DANGER anywhere! Give me a massacre before you give me another US Open cakewalk that looked more like a PGA Championship.
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