The U.S. Open hasn’t even officially begun and yet players have already complained about the fescue that sits only a few feet from the fairway. In response to some heavy rain, the USGA has decided to cut back on that rough.
The USGA’s Darin Brevard said that the knocked down fescue from storms earlier in the week “would be unplayable” and that they had not planned on cutting anything before Tuesday morning. So this is not a response to players, it’s a response to mother nature.
— Golfdom (@Golfdom) June 13, 2017
— Joel Beall (@JoelMBeall) June 13, 2017
A lot is riding on the USGA, with recent controversies angering players and fans alike. They know they need this tournament to do well and they’re not going to take any chances.
Especially with players like Kevin Na, who broadcasted the high rough on his Instagram, saying that past U.S. Open winners should get together and create a major without the help of the USGA.
Hurdzan Golf Design’s Twitter account fired back at Na, defending the course they helped build.
— Hurdzan Golf Design (@HurdzanGolf) June 13, 2017
And of course, these are just the thoughts of one golfer out of many. Although Lee Westwood did post a funny video amid the fescue as well. It’s tall stuff, the players are going to take notice.
Rory McIlroy on the other hand, took a completely different take:
“We have 60 yards from left line to right line. You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here. If we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack up your bags and go home.”
Just like the golf designers pointed out, the fairways at Erin Hills are 2 to 3 times the width of normal PGA Tour venues. Yes, the fescue beyond the three feet of rough may be impossible, but isn’t the point of the U.S. Open to push the boundaries of these top players? This should motivate players to keep it within the now larger fairway, rather than complain about the stuff that they shouldn’t really be in to begin with.
Rory's response to the news that some of the fescue is being mowed down: pic.twitter.com/FLvpDDn351
— Eric Buenning (@ericbuenning) June 13, 2017
Rory definitely has the right attitude, and according to GolfDigest, Golf course designer Dana Fry had a chance to personally escort Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose around Erin Hills and came away with a prediction that a European golfer will win the 117th U.S. Open. Part of Fry’s logic for picking a European winner is that they’ll be more comfortable playing the numerous blind shots and uneven lies competitors will be facing all week.
It looks like this year’s U.S. Open is already turning out to be an interesting one. Hopefully the course will play up to the hype, regardless of cutting down some of the fescue.