Shinnecock Hills, New York, June 14-17
The last time the US Open was held at Shinnecock Hills in 2004, the 7th green had to be watered midway through the final round because it was too dry, firm and fast to be playable. The USGA will be desperate to avoid a similar situation this year after further course-related controversies at Chambers Bay (shocking greens) and Erin Hills (brutal rough that was stripped back the week of the event).
After a somewhat fallow period between 2001 and 2014 when they only won five of the 14, the Americans have come back strongly in their home Open with Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka taking the spoils over the last three years. For the record, South Africa’s Retief Goosen won with -4 in 2004.
Koepka’s -16 winning score last year will surely have annoyed the USGA, who treat level par like the Holy Grail. Will they learn from past mistakes, or are they going to ‘trick up’ Shinnecock Hills in an attempt to protect par? Too often in recent years the USGA have got it wrong. Let’s hope they apply some common sense and present a course that tests the world’s best, while also providing a fair and playable layout on which they can showcase their talents to the world.