Final Analysis of the 2007 U.S. Open
Well, this was one that I was looking forward to, and good old Oakmont sure didn’t disappoint. The high scores were indicative of a course that was set up tough but still very playable – if you hit the golf shots.
These are PGA Tour professionals, right ? The 150 very best players in the world, supposedly. So, I would hope that they would contest a championship over a course that demanded the highest level of shotmaking performance, mental sharpness, a good game plan and the ability to keep your cool.
On my home course, I play fairways that are 25-35 yards wide for the most part, and rough that demands that I hit it in the short grass if I am to score well. I would think that Tiger and friends could ply their craft on fairways much narrower and rough that is proportionately tougher on them as mine is on me. And so Oakmont was set up that way.
What is little known is that Oakmont’s members play those greens every day at a pace that is faster than what it was this past week.
As we watched Angel Cabrera win, realize that he posted 25% of the total under par rounds this week !!!! And he drilled a drive right down the heart of the 18th fairway on Sunday when he absolutely had to make par.
In contrast, Jim Furyk made a decision to hit driver on 17 and it cost him a bogey – and the U.S. Open probably. This hole is 305 yards for Pete’s sake. He needed only two pars to ensure a playoff, so why hit driver there ?
He could hit a 5- or 6-iron off the tee to 100 yards and have smooth full SW into the flag, which he will hit within 10 feet most of the time from the fairway. Just dumb if you ask me.
And Tiger needed a birdie and par on the last two holes to get into a playoff. But he tries to drive 17, hits a poor bunker shot from a very clean lie (which the pros almost always get), and leaves himself having to birdie 18. And then he misses the fairway, all but removing any possibility of hitting a crisp, on-target approach.
The simple fact is that Cabrera executed shots when he had to, and those guys didn’t.
What I think really showed in the U.S. Open is that these guys are hitting their irons so far now, they don’t have precision distance control in between clubs and at shorter ranges like professionals used to.
When you hit a 7-iron 180-190, how do you know exactly how to hit a shot 125, or 109, or 131 ?
You don’t have any clubs left down there, and you have to throttle back your swing speed so much that it is dang near impossible to gauge distance to the yard when in scoring range.
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The fairways at the U.S. Open were 23-40 yards wide. They're not any narrower than most golf courses in the U.S. - I think that's a common misperception.
Sure, they're narrower than the 60-yard-wide fairways at other Tour stops like Muirfield Village, but for normal golfers, U.S. Open fairways look - dare I say it - rather normal or even wider than they're used to!
I agree with Erik. I play US Open style courses every week in Louisville. Tall, thick bluegrass rough, narrow fairways and double-cut, double-rolled greens.
We call those courses Country Clubs, because the muni's are tougher !
Maybe they should play our courses, with the conditions we have to play on and let us play with courtesy cars, free food and equipment company reps drooling on our Etonics for a change.
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