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Golf Australia Express : Issue 40—The US Open
THEREAREFEW SPORTS so strongly influenced by their maintenance staff than golf. In fact, lumping a greenskeeper under the broad umbrella of ‘maintenance’ verges on offensive, so involved with the game are they. And there a few competitions that show this impact quite as clearly as the US Open. On any course, the greenskeeper will decide where the pin sits and will set the length of holes through tee positioning, taking conditions into account and setting challenges for the field on competition days. It is not easy to view the term ‘pinched fairways’ in a positive light—everything pinched is painful—and the US Open prides itself on making big drives sweat their line with hostile rough impinging the cut surface. Added to greens notorious for their pace and slope, the competition comes with a reputation for being as tough as a backstreet brawler. Clearly, the most important club in the game is a player’s brain: the rules don’t change for a tough course or tricky conditions. The player with IT’S HOW PLAYERS RECOVER FROM MISTAKES—RATHER THAN AVOID THEM—THAT COUNTS AT THE US OPEN, WRITES WILL HONE. WHEN THE GOING GETS ROUGH... with Will Hone IN HONING the lowest score on Fathers’ Day over there takes home the silverware, regardless of how far over par—or under—they may be. When Australia’s Geoff Ogilvy won at Winged Foot in 2006, he did so at plus- 5. When Rory McIlroy won at 16-under there were rumblings of discontent suggesting the course was “too easy”. Early signs suggest such mumblings will not be a feature of this year’s event. The first hole at Olympic Club is a 520-metre par-4, which makes it easy to be over par from the outset. The US Open holds a special place in the golfing world—it is the measure of how a professional deals with adversity. Playing well is not enough—recovering from poor positions is essential, and doing so to save bogey a likely part of the event. TheUSOpenisa tournament to make professional golfers suit up in mental amour weeks in advance—it certainly got under Phil Mickelson’s skin. And it’s a competition that greenkeepers the world over dream of, because it is truly an institution that lets them bring the extreme to the course, and then some. In the end though, it’s not about being difficult or easy. It’s about letting the best players in the world show off their capabilities. And that’s what we love to watch. OTG "The US Open holds a special place in the golfing world—it is the measure of how a professional deals with adversity." TELL US YOUR THOUGHTS