The CourseThe “unfair” green on 18 was redone after the 1998 US Open and the players this week have all reported it to be fair. Punishing if you are in the wrong position, but fair.
Lots of the European contingent had expected tree lined fairways only to be a bit disappointed by the sparse look in places. Hundreds of giant Pines have been removed; they were either diseased or unstable.
What this has done is to allow the wind from the sea to whistle across the course.
The greens are a hybrid bentgrass, they used used to poa annua. Stimpmeter readings from the greenkeeping staff (unofficially) are said to be between 11 and 13 metres and maybe even a little faster, depending on the wind drying the course on the weekend.
The greens are tiny but the rough is not even close to being as punishing as expected. Sure. there will be bad lies but in places it is very patchy.
The course is set up to mostly favour a player comfortable with a left to right shot. Eight holes have been redesigned to require a new shape with the drive.
The hardest part of the course according to those in practice is the run off areas around the greens. These are cut shorter than average greens and gathering any errant balls. Expect lots of precise clean contact chipping for anyone expecting to get up and down.
The front nine is playing harder than the back nine. The first six holes in particular are brutal. The longest hole is the 670-yard par five 16th.
The WeatherThe official weather man for the USGA has posted charts for the week indicating mild weather, approx 20 degree Celcius with no rain. A Westerly sea breeze at 15 mph is expected to prevail for the duration of the event.
and finally the consensus among the players and caddies is that 10 under could win!