Blog
10
June
The 2014 US Open Experiment
By: Ross Starkey

The course will be a far cry from the one seen in 2005 or 1999. Instead of rough there will be sandy waste areas dubbed ’sandscapes’  planted with wiregrass which promises players no typical lie; it could be soft and fluffy; hard and bare or; nestled against thick wiregrasses. The pros might be in for an experience they have not enjoyed before.

What thick rough there was in 2005 has been de-turfed to reveal the sand belt running through the resort, much like the look of Donald Ross's original design. The team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw have certainly heeded much from Ross's original concept and attempted to revert it back wherever possible, and this includes widening the fairways.

Rory McIlroy will fancy his chances, especially if it gets wet, conditions he used to his advantage when posting record scores at Congressional in 2011. This might also be somewhere Bubba Watson will find inviting; large expanses of fairway, soft from the expected rain.

The featured group over the first two days will be that of Justin Rose, Phil Mickelson and Matthew Fitzpatrick. While Mickelson and Rose renew their rivalry in which Rose has gotten the better of it at both last year’s US Open and the Ryder Cup before that, US Amateur Champion Fitzpatrick will be looking to finish his amateur career off on a high, as he turns pro after the tournament.

Another highly watched group will be that of Henrik Stenson, Matt Kuchar and Lee Westwood, a group that could claim more votes for best player never to have won a major than any other, ever. And there’ll be plenty of money on the Adam Scott, Bubba Watson and Charl Schwartzel group too.

With warmer weather expected over the weekend, how the course dries out will be keenly watched by the women who play their championship straight afterwards. Questions will be raised if the greens and favoured pin positions suffer from footfall wear and tear.

It will be a unique opportunity to see how the men and women compare on the same stage. Will there be the same Sunday pin positions, how will they cope out of the unique sandscape hazards, the likes of which we haven't seen at a US Open. The smart money suggests neither winning score will break level par. The wet thunderstorms expected might at least soften up the course for the men. Will it be a fair comparison? Only time, and the weather, will tell.

If you are fancying a wager in this year's double US Open, perhaps you might fancy picking a pair of Antipodeans, Adam Scott and Lydia Ko, to come out on top. If they do, we hope you'll return and get a few lessons from your winnings.