Posted by: Mitch Juricich
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 at 4:04 PM
Rightfully so, there have been a ton of thoughts on the Olympic Club, the site of this year’s US Open. This marvelous course has been dissected, rated and analyzed by many in the hopes of trying to ascertain how the best players in the world will fair during US Open week. Allow me to give you the slightest peek at how you might do, based on my experience during Media Day. For proper identification, your humble scribe is an average golfer who once had an index that dipped as low as 5.2, but has mostly hovered around the 8 to 12 area. In short, my game is maybe ever so slightly above average. At my best, a good drive for me is in the 240-250 range. If I really caught one, 260 would be the max. The only way I could ever hit a 300 yard drive would be if three factors were involved: 1-downhill, 2-down wind, 3-cart path. I will state that I’m and “ok” putter.
Putting my game to the test at Olympic for The US Open would lead to these givens:
1-There are four par 4’s on the course that I could absolutely not reach in two shots; #1-#5-#6 and #12. There are three other par 4’s that would take two perfect shots to reach in regulation; #2-#9 and #11.
2-There is one par 3, #3, on which I would have to hit a driver to reach the green from the back tee and I better get all of it. Another par three, #8, might also be a driver, if not the 3 metal of my life.
3-The two par fives during the Open week (#1 is played as a five par by the members), #16 and #17 would tear up the average schmoe for different reasons.
The 16th is unreachable in 3 shots for most of us. At 670 yards it is the longest hole in Open history, and from the back most tees, it basically requires somewhat of a duck hook tee shot through a very, very narrow opening. I haven’t hooked a ball since the Johnson administration. Serious business, if I was offered a seven on the tee, I would take it and forego the torture, which I get enough of watching Giant’s baseball.
The 17th, which cants severely from left to right, is reachable in three shots. The problem here starts when you get on the green. An already difficult green to putt has been made even more difficult by the shaving of the fringe on the right side of the green. I predict we could see a scenario where a player hits the green in two, knocks his eagle putt off the green in three and has to take an unplayable lie because his ball is up against a tree to the right of the green. Now lying four with a severe uphill pitch shot to, perhaps, a short sided pin, and said player might be looking at a seven when he had thought of a three.
As for putting, I had 9 three-putts and 9 two-putts. And I had to make some 5-8 footers just to do that well.
In short, I came away thinking there is no way anyone breaks par for the Open. But, then again, these are the greatest players in the world, so who knows? One thing I do know, I’d be happy to break 90, but I ‘d have to be at my level best!