A tough US Open and letting 'Winged Foot be Winged Foot'

MAMARONECK, N.Y. — Looking ahead to the fairway to transparent forward, Sergio Garcia appeared at the back of him on the 5 holes he performed Wednesday at Winged Foot and recited a listing of golf equipment that hardly ever pop out of his bag.

A 6-iron into the hole par Four. A Five-iron at the subsequent gap. He had simply completed the 5th gap, the place he smoked a motive force and had Four-iron into the fairway, pin-high and about 35 toes to the left.

That is simply attending to the fairway.

Patrick Reed stood in deep tough a few backyard past the fairway at the first gap, hit a gradual flop and watched it roll down a ridge, feed over to some other slope and run off the entrance of the fairway.

Welcome to Winged Foot, and a U.S. Open that wishes no advent. Slim fairways. Thick tough. Tricky vegetables. It is a easy formulation that for years outlined the American championship, one who has been lacking lately through attempting new venues (Chambers Bay and Erin Hills) or getting mild climate (Pebble Seashore).

And there have been instances when the USGA attempted to persuade the stage of issue, such because the pin positions and inexperienced speeds on Saturday at Shinnecock Hills.

None of that looks important at Winged Foot, the century-old design that has yielded handiest two 72-hole rankings underneath par within the 5 U.S. Opens it has hosted since 1929.

No person expects the winner to damage par this week, even with the transfer from June to September, and no person expects the USGA to must do a lot to tinker with the West route.

And no person summed up the take a look at higher than John Bodenhamer, the senior managing director of championships for the USGA and the individual in control of putting in the route.

“We can let Winged Foot be Winged Foot,” he stated.

His remark was once impressed from digging via historical past of U.S. Opens at Winged Foot. A reporter sought after to grasp if the USGA was once going to improve the route in 1929. Bodenhamer cited this answer from route architect A.W. Tillinghast:

“We are not going to outfit Pass over Winged Foot in any other approach than she another way could be. No fancy garments, no particular jewellery … simply wash her face up for the birthday celebration, and he or she’ll be just right sufficient.”

The general get dressed practice session was once Wednesday. Tiger Woods out first within the morning dew through himself, gearing up for a route the place he’s 18-over par in six earlier rounds — 4 on the 1997 PGA Championship, two on the 2006 U.S. Open, the primary time he overlooked the reduce at a big as a professional.

The measure of a troublesome U.S. Open for years was once how loudly avid gamers complained. Jack Nicklaus at all times mentioned ruling avid gamers out when he heard them griping concerning the stipulations. However that is the perfect praise Winged Foot can obtain. It has a tendency to supply the perfect rankings and the fewest lawsuits.

No person is preserving ranking simply but.

“Pay attention, the avid gamers haven’t put a pencil of their hand but, so we’ll wait and spot,” stated Mike Davis, the CEO of the USGA. “I believe you return 125 years, and there’s a little bit little bit of historical past of it being a difficult week. And whilst you take into consideration one of the most largest U.S. Open avid gamers of all time — Bob Jones, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods — you by no means heard them bitch. They authorized the problem.

The sector is handiest 144 avid gamers, the smallest since there have been 143 avid gamers in 1932, as a result of the transfer to September and the lack of just about 3 hours of sunlight. There additionally was once no qualifying for the primary time in additional than a century as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. And prefer each and every event since golfing resumed, there shall be no spectators.

Winged Foot nonetheless could be extra crowded than different event, basically as a result of extra volunteers required to assist in finding tee photographs within the tough. That is what the U.S. Open brings that different tournaments have not. Giant crowds result in thick grass this is trampled down through the tip of the week. And that is some significantly thick grass.

“Should you get it out of doors the rope traces this week, it will be vital,” Bodenhamer stated.

The forecast is just right, possibly the best U.S. Open out of doors of Pebble Seashore or Olympic Membership in San Francisco. The avid gamers? Golfing is getting so deep that 5 avid gamers have taken turns at No. 1 this 12 months, probably the most for a calendar 12 months for the reason that global rating started in 1986. Dustin Johnson occupies that spot now and is the having a bet favourite.

The famous person appeal is Winged Foot, as at all times.

“We’ve observed a few U.S. Opens the place it would have got clear of them,” stated Webb Simpson, who received at Olympic Membership in 2012. “When a golfing route will get clear of you, you are bringing in good fortune. … I believe there were setups up to now the place you want to argue that a really perfect golfer with a just right quantity of good fortune received that week. However you are no longer going to have that right here at Winged Foot. Whoever wins on Sunday is the most efficient golfer right here for the week.”

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