The US Open is sponsored by the USGA and is one of the world’s four major golf tournaments. It is the National Championship of the USA and anyone who qualifies can play in it. We have all seen the movie “The Greatest Game Ever Played” where Francis Quimet became the first amateur to propel himself into the national spotlight when he beat all of the pros in 1913. Let’s discuss some of the highlights of this great major.
Major Takeaways from the 2017 US Open
The Erin Hills Golf Course
In every US Open, the course is always in the headlines. This year the US OPEN was held at Erin Hills (near Milwaukee, Wisconsin). Erin Hills has a unique course layout. I think that a good description of the course would be Rugged, Raw and LONG. The course is rugged just by virtue of being a links course--no trees means a lot of wind on all rounds. When you view the course, just look at the bunkers and how they are laid out as well as the fescue just beyond the 2nd cut of the rough---you will think RAW. When we are talking about long---the course has a maximum length of 8,345 yards and will be playing at about 7,700. That is LONG!
The winner will have to be focused on the following:
- The “X factor” of estimating how the wind will affect every shot.
- Solid ball striking.
- Being able to putt on traditionally difficult US Open greens.
The Good News - 2017 US Golf Open
- For the sixth year in a row, a first-time major winner has won the US Open. 27- year-old Brooks Koepka stayed close for 3 rounds and then surged late in the 4th round to win the tournament by 4 shots. His birdies on 14, 15 and 16 made a close tournament a calm “walk in the park” for Brooks on the 18th Very well done!
- Justin Thomas carded a 63 on Saturday to shoot the lowest “under par” single round in US Open History (9 under par). What a great round of golf!
The “Hard to Believe” News - 2017 US Golf Open
- Rory McElroy and Jason Day effectively put themselves out of contention in the first round with scores of 78 and 79 respectively!
- Jon Rahm had a horrific first 5 holes in the first round which left him emotionally out of control and out of contention in the first 9 holes of the tournament! Jon will have to learn to control his emotions to be the great player that he is capable of being.
- Rickie Fowler was playing great golf to be in contention on Sunday. His game faded on Sunday after a promising start. When he needed birdies on the back nine on Sunday, he made bogeys. He has game and will be heard from in all of the future majors!
- With Justin Thomas’s great round, he broke Johnny Miller’s record of 8 under par as the lowest round in a US Open history. Miller’s comments about Justin’s round were less than complimentary and certainly below the dignity of such a great golfer and commentator as Johnny.
Playing the Challenging Erin Hills Golf Course
- While Erin Hills played very long, there were 4 par 5’s (unusual for a US Open which normally has 2 or 3). The players took advantage of this every day for birdies. In the tournament, most players had 2-3 birdies per round because of the 4 Par 5’s instead of the historically 1 or 2.
- The bunkers offered some of the most unusual opportunities for how the players set up to hit the bunker shot. If one was in one of the many bunkers at Erin Hills, the course description of rugged is very appropriate.
- Kevin Na’s larger than life internet video of the fescue did not prove as looming in real life. The width of the fairways effectively made the fescue a concern but not an issue for the pros.
A Major Factor Influencing the 2017 US Golf Open
As any major tournament is reviewed, many will ask the one or two major factors that influenced the outcome of the tournament. The Weather was THE major factor in 2 ways.
- In the first 3 rounds, the lack of wind was significant and the players took advantage of this with low scores. Nearly an inch of rain on Friday night and lack of wind contributed to low scores on Saturday.
- On Sunday, however, the winds came in earnest and really made the course difficult; many players struggled. Brooks Koepka, however, was calm, cool and steady---and also very long with his distance in the fourth round. His drive on the 18th hole on the final round was 379 yards---with a 3-wood! Wow! He is a much deserved winner!
A Final Note About the 2017 US Golf Open
On a final note, the 2017 US Golf Open will also be remembered by who did not play---namely Phil Mickelson. “Lefty” opted instead to attend his daughter’s high school graduation where she was the valedictorian. He will get the USGA “Father of the Year” award.
Over to You...
- Did your pick win the US Open?
- What was your memorable moment in this year’s US Open?
- How do you think this victory will affect Brooks Koepka?
- When will you play a Links Course?
Send me your comments…..
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