On June 18, the U.S. Open Golf Championship will begin at the Chambers Bay golf course in Washington. One of the most interesting tidbits about this tournament has to do with the opening hole which will change in par from one round to another. The first hole will either be 496 or 598 yards long and will either be a par 4 or 5. It depends on the scoring, the wind – and the decision of Mike Davis, the USGA’s executive director.
This hole goes due west, right in front of Puget Sound. While the water does not get anywhere near the hole, the prevailing southwesterly wind can make this a tough way to start a round of golf betting. The new back tee gives the tournament director the choice of making it a par 4 or 5. As a par 4, using a middle iron to the green makes it a tough shot to hold. As a par 5, there is more room from the tee, but that southwest wind will make it hard to get to the green in two, particularly because the area before the green sends balls to the left and down a slope.
Taking a Quick Look at the 2015 U.S. Open Championship Golf Betting Preview
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So who has the advantage going into the tournament? Interestingly, Phil Mickelson traveled to Chambers Bay for a scouting excursion after the course had been closed to the general public. After he toured the layout, he indicated that it looked a lot like the links style courses that are common in Great Britain. One hole that could become extremely interesting is the 9th hole, which features a severe downhill slope on a lengthy par 3. When Mickelson took his tour, his shot here landed pin high but ended up spinning 20 feet past the hole.
What other pitfalls are awaiting the field out there? Well, the 18th hole could also see its par change from one day to the next. Now, once the USGA sets the par for the day, it has to stay the same for the whole day. So if a morning starts out windy, but then the winds die down and the day calms, they can’t go in and adjust the par to make things tougher for the rest of the field. They can’t change the par until the next day.
USGA director Mike Davis also indicated that the tee boxes might appear on some side slopes, or uphill or downhill slopes, just to add a little more difficulty to the whole process. Davis did say in a recent press conference that players are going to need to spend some time studying the course to learn it if they expect to win it. This could help Jordan Spieth, coming off a Masters win. His caddie, Michael Greller, used to do that same job at Chambers Bay before Spieth hired on.
One thing that is certain about this upcoming Open is that it will be almost impossible to predict a winner. The USGA has become notorious for making its Open course so difficult that even the best players in the world falter under particular conditions. So while the names Spieth, McIlroy and Mickelson might be on the mind now as far as potential champions, it’s just as likely that the winner could literally come out of nowhere, vaulting up from the middle of the field to win. The pitfalls on the course mean that it will be almost impossible for someone to go wire-to-wire in the lead. Expect a rollercoaster ride this Open – which means that watching Friday could be just as exciting as watching on Sunday. This will definitely be a major to remember.