Monday, June 10, 2002

US Open

Tiger Woods calls Bethpage Black the hardest par 70 golf course he's ever played. A couple of friends of mine (professionals who failed to qualify for the Open) concur. There are all the usual US Open problems; impossible rough, narrow fairways, lightning fast greens. But the killer is length.

It's not the length of the tee shots (which would be the problem for you and me). It's the length of the approach shots. The boys are used to hitting 7-irons (at the most) into greens. This week, they'll be hitting 2-irons and 3-irons and 4-irons into greens that are flat and concrete. Which means that their third shots will be chips from the rough in back. Which they can't spin.

The first two holes are birdie holes and one of the two par 5s is reachable. But the rest of the course is fraught with disaster. And all but one of the four par 3s are 210 yards long.