‘WE CAN HAVE A LOT OF FUN WITH THE 15TH SO IT PLAYS JUST 80 YARDS’
Jeff Hall, Tournament Director at the USGA, reveals all about the set-up flexibility and the surprising challenges which lie in wait...
Each US Open venue brings its own personality to the party.
You think about a windswept Shinnecock Hills which needs to be open, or Winged Foot’s single file fairways. LA Country Club is a wider golf course than many of our tests, but it is very strategic with where you need to be in the fairway for certain hole locations.
One of the beauties of going to coastal California in June is that we are usually in control of the water.
There maybe a little fog, but we should be in control of the moisture. We expect a bouncy golf course and that’s an important element of what we do with the US Open. Great players emerge when they have to consider how the ball behaves on the ground. That’s not science, that’s feel.
There will be no Poa annua discussions on the greens.
There may be a spot or two of it – you can’t entirely keep it out – but the putting surfaces are bent grass and they are of a wonderful quality.
This golf course has tremendous set-up flexibility and I think it’s safe to say that we will explore all the options.
We had a lot of fun with the 15th in the Walker Cup in 2017.
It played around 80 yards and it can also play 145 yards. Doing something like that on back-to-back days? Wow. Three par 5s and five par 3s? You don’t see that every day. You give the best players in the world an additional par 5 to what they usually see at a US Open and they’re excited about that.
I feel almost badly for the standard bearers because I can see them changing the score every hole.
There will be a lot of birdies and a lot of bogeys. And some of those “easier” holes? There will be bogeys there because only a slight misstep will hurt.
The course can be surreal.
You can stand on the first tee and you’re looking down at a naturally rugged golf course that feels like it’s been there forever. Then you look above the tree line and there’s the Beverly Hills Hilton. And on the 11th tee, you’re looking at downtown Los Angeles.
At the end of the day our job is to prepare and present the most iconic venues in our country.
Then we step away to, in this case, let LA Country Club be LA Country Club and the best players in the world do what they do best.