Sport What Erin Hills got right

03:02  20 june  2017
03:02  20 june  2017 Source:   Golf Digest

USGA announces that a spectator has died at U.S. Open at Erin Hills

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But overall, Erin Hills did very well. The big course produced, in Brooks Koepka, a winner with a well matching big game. It did so without any rules controversies, or furors over the setup. Instead, the course got almost universal praise from that vital jury, the players.

I've known my game could be capable with my distance and my wedge game. So it's just nice to see it come along at the right time." Garcia hoping Erin Hills gets harder, faster. NEXT. Casey overcomes triple-bogey to tie for U.S. Open lead.

ERIN, Wis. — At some point within the next 20 years, the U.S. Open should return to Erin Hills.

Sure, it would have been nice if in the Wisconsin course’s debut, it hadn’t been so rain softened. Or the wind had blown more. Or the fescue bordering the fairways had been thinner. Or if the Sunday battle for the 117th championship had been closer.

But overall, Erin Hills did very well. The big course produced, in Brooks Koepka, a winner with a well matching big game. It did so without any rules controversies, or furors over the setup. Instead, the course got almost universal praise from that vital jury, the players.

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So it's just nice to see it come along at the right time." Champ said a practice round with former British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen and four-times major winner McIlroy on Monday helped his confidence. Garcia hoping Erin Hills gets harder, faster.

“Hopefully they get it right this time, just from a playability standpoint.” The USGA seems to have paused, taken a deep breath and listened. Now we’ll see if the proper actions follow. Let’s hope so. It’s important. Already at Erin Hills – the organization’s second first-time Open venue in three years

We should remember that this was an Open where healing was a priority in the hope the USGA would get its mojo back, and a spirit of diplomacy was palpable. The USGA bent over backward to be fair, making sure there was no chance, even if the dearly missed strong winds had finally arrived, the place would become goofy.

The placated players—many of them still feeling burned by the greens at Chambers Bay and the Dustin Johnson rules fiasco at Oakmont—showed their appreciation.

“I thought that the USGA did a phenomenal job this week of allowing the golf course to be what it is and play the way it’s supposed to play. …no unfairness whatsoever,” said Jordan Spieth, who finished t-35. “I thought the USGA did a fantastic job coming back this year, and I know that they really wanted to.”

McGirt's caddie finds McIlroy's errant ball at Erin Hills

  McGirt's caddie finds McIlroy's errant ball at Erin Hills A caddie found a neat souvenir.

Players were vocal in their disdain, calling out the USGA in an unprecedented way. This puts the onus on the governing body to get it right this week at Erin Hills , where the 117th U.S. Open begins Thursday.

Casey laid up in the rough, took two chops to get out of more rough behind the 14th green, and staggered away with a triple-bogey 8 that might have ruined his day at Erin Hills . Moments later, he began a run of five straight birdies that put him right where he wanted to be going into the weekend.

And Spieth, who has been granted unofficial spokesman status among his peers, endorsed Erin Hills for future U.S. Opens. “I think it’s an awesome golf course. I think that’s been the consensus from everybody. In my opinion, I would like to see another one here down the road, sure.”

Let’s make clear that Erin Hills was far from perfect. Even if it had played firm and fast, the fairways were too wide. Koepka, who was seventh in driving distance with an average of 322 yards, also hit 88 percent of the fairways (4th in the field), an impressive statistical combination that allowed him to hit 62 of 72 greens in regulation, a phenomenal 86 percent that led all players.

Yes, it was very nice to see drivers come out. But it was obvious that slightly flared drives, a soft-landing miss that is a “safety shot” for the longest hitters, weren’t sufficiently punished.

True, really bad drives went into the extremely tall and thick fescue, which carried a much higher penalty than conventional U.S. Open rough, to the point of being virtually unplayable. But for the most part, the fescue caught the players who were hitting the ball with a crookedness that would have kept them out of contention anyway. Remarkably, that group included pre-tournament favorites and conspicuous bombers Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, whose failure to make the cut marked the first time that had happened to the top three players in a major since the Official World Golf Ranking began in 1985.

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Michael Bamberger, senior writer Sports Illustrated: His golf was ideal for what Erin Hills required. Zak: What the USGA needs "to get right ," is to get people off their back. They need to construct a fair, difficult test for the U.S. Open once a year.

That’s especially the case with a new layout like Erin Hills , home of this week’s U.S. Open. “We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” he said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here.

But it was notable that rather than complain, they praised Erin Hills. “Not your typical U.S. Open setup,” said McIlroy, “but I’m a big fan.”

Added Day, “The golf course is actually really beautiful. Unfortunately, I just didn’t execute.”

But among the leaders, even with the Sunday pressure, the fescue didn’t offer enough threat.

But this was the first playing. Much was learned, and will be implemented if Erin Hills gets another chance. “I would think they’d want to change a few things,” said Steve Stricker, also a fan of seeing Erin Hills get another U.S. Open. “I’d like to see the fescue a little bit thinner and the fairways a little bit bit narrower, so it’s not a full shot for hitting into the fescue, but it’s going to be harder to hit fairways.”

Even by the exacting standards of what it takes to host a U.S. Open, Erin Hills proved it has more than enough to work with.

But even if Erin Hills was fair and visually impressive, still up in the air is whether it passes the U.S. Open’s ineffable atmosphere test. It was widely felt that over all, this Open felt a little flat.

I’d agree, but would put lack of urgency down to the cautious setup and the unluckiness in getting wet, windless weather. Erin Hills was too friendly, perhaps unavoidably so, but it didn’t provide the truly edgy test of skill and mental strength that most differentiates the U.S. Open.

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We’re on a golf course called Erin Hills . To get here, you pass lots of barns. “We have 60 yards from left line to right line. You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here. If we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.

Players were vocal in their disdain, calling out the USGA in an unprecedented way. This puts the onus on the governing body to get it right this week at Erin Hills , where the 117th U.S. Open begins Thursday.

“It would be a lot of fun to see this place firm and fast,” said Rickie Fowler, T-5. “It might just be a little bit more of a mental headache if we do get to see that.”

To its credit, Erin Hills at any time offers the chance for a shots that might not be tried amid the tighter confines of more traditional Opens. The most vivid memory of the four days will be Justin Thomas’ majestic 310-yard wood to 6 feet and an eagle for 63, which until further notice is the greatest second shot to a par five in the history of the U.S. Open.

I happened to like that the relatively flat greens weren’t particularly confounding and also opened up more opportunity for the spectacular. I’ve tired of faster and faster speeds on golden age slopes causing extremely defensive putting and with it, a glacial pace of play. Give the best players in the world a better chance to make putts. It adds excitement and gives the competition a brisker feel.

So where does Erin Hills fit in the future?

It’s well positioned if the USGA is truly committed to moving the championship around the country. At the moment, there is a vacuum in the Midwest. Medinah and Olympia Fields in Chicago don’t inspire and former USGA mainstays Hazeltine and Oakland Hills have become more aligned with the PGA. The same with Whistling Straits, which has had two PGA and is slated for another Ryder cup.

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Erin Hills appears as though a piece of Scotland, with its dominant fescue grasses, has been relocated to the Dairy State. Red zone defense a big UGA offseason point of emphasis: ‘You’ve just got to win’.

Ron Whitten: " Erin Hills has got probably the most heavily contoured fairways I can think of in championship golf. Obviously if they [the USGA] go setting pins right on crowns of hills and stuff and on reverse slopes and then the greens get to 14, 14 and a half [on the stimpmeter], whatever they set

And in an unofficial competition comparison with another minimalist style public course that is vying to be deemed a modern classic, Erin Hills has come off better than Chambers Bay near Seattle.

Erin Hills, with sheer bigness that requires less retrofitting for distance than older courses, and a brawn accented by humpy land and jagged bunkers that can make for exciting golf, offers a welcome but only occasional – maybe once every 20 years - change of pace from the traditional Golden Age classics.

On the eve of the Open, USGA executive director Mike Davis will head up the post-championship evaluation, but it appears Erin Hills will be in good stead based on his pre-tournament comments.

"We like a firm, fast golf course, where you really have to think about what happens when that ball lands," Davis said. "But we're likely not going to get that this week. ... We will take player feedback as part of it. We'll use our own observations. Outside the ropes, how did the community, the state and the country embrace the event?"

Even by the exacting standards of what it takes to host a U.S. Open, Erin Hills proved it has more than enough to work with.

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USGA is cutting down select native roughs at Erin Hills – and Rory McIlroy is not happy .
Erin Hills' dense native rough is getting a trim before the 2017 U.S. Open, a result of forecasted storms, and Rory McIlroy isn't pleased.According to USGA officials, the fourth, 12th, 14th and 18th holes received a trimming in anticipation of forecasted storms that are expected to make certain strains of the native grasses lay down. The unplayability of those lies prompted the decision to send an army of maintenance staffers out for the emergency trimming, not early week player and media criticism.

Source: http://us.pressfrom.com/news/sports/-60487-what-erin-hills-got-right/

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