U.S. Open: Carnage awaits on Winged Foot's West Course

As is regular practice, Gary Woodland was chipping balls out of thick rough during his initial prep at Winged Foot ahead of this week’s (...)

U.S. Open: Carnage awaits on Winged Foot's West Course

As is regular practice, Gary Woodland was chipping balls out of thick rough during his initial prep at Winged Foot ahead of this week’s U.S. Open. But as his caddie, Brennan Little, retrieved the golf balls and tossed them back to Woodland on Saturday, something became amiss as the defending champion tried to get a gauge on the issue at hand.

“We lost a ball for about five minutes and it was right in front of me,” the defending champion said. “We didn’t find it until we stepped on it.

“There was talk of not having marshals the first couple practice rounds. The practice rounds would have been 10 hours out here trying to find golf balls.”

Welcome to the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, where, to properly set the stage for the 120th playing of the national championship, one must address the stage — the West Course in Mamaroneck, New York, some 25 miles from the heart of Manhattan.

The particulars? Designed by A.W. Tillinghast and restored by Gil Hanse, the course tips out at 7,477 yards and plays to a par of 70, with one par-3 at 243 yards, two par-4s longer than 500 yards, and one par-5 breaking the 630-yard barrier.

The history? In five previous editions of the U.S. Open on the West Course, only two of the more than 700 players finished 72 holes under par (take a bow, 1984 champion Fuzzy Zoeller and runner-up Greg Norman). The last winner, Geoff Ogilvy in 2006, won at 5 over. In the 1974 U.S. Open, dubbed the Massacre at Winged Foot, Hale Irwin won at 7 over.

The observations?

“The golf course is big,” Woodland said. “It’s hard. But I think that’s what you expect when you come to a major championship and especially a U.S. Open.”

“It depends on how difficult (the U.S. Golf Association) want to set up these pins, give us a chance at it,” three-time U.S. Open champion Tiger Woods said. “But with the forecast, it’s going to be difficult no matter what. This golf course is going to be one of the more difficult ones.”

“It’s sort of like in boxing where Mike Tyson said everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face. It’s the same thing here,” world No. 2 Jon Rahm said. “We all have a plan, but if you hit it sideways, you got to figure it out.”

In other words, seems like some good old fashioned U.S. Open carnage is on hand for the 144 players in the field starting with Thursday’s first round. An 18-hole migraine headache, if you will. What else is to be expected considering the dense rough – six inches and even higher in some places – that will leave egos, wrists and scorecards bruised? The skeleton fairways? The massive, sloping greens that are mindful of the smaller, wickedly difficult putting surfaces at Augusta National?

With the tournament postponed three months due to COVID-19, the West Course was a tad on the soft side on the eve of the championship. But to a man, everyone expects the layout to firm up, especially the putting surfaces, and become a daytime nightmare.

“This place tests every single aspect of your game, so I don’t think I could single out the toughest thing that you need to do or the hardest thing you’re going to have to do this week,” four-time major winner Rory McIlroy said. “It’s all pretty tough.”

But fair, the players say, with even-par 270 a prophesied winning score to chase. McIlroy, for instance, doesn’t expect the course to descend into “goofy” golf. There are no tricks to the track; the confrontation is right in front of you (even if it looks like a dark alley).

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“You’ve just got to step up and hit good shots,” Woodland said. “I don’t think the USGA is going to get too crazy. The golf course is hard enough.”

To the point that a recurring refrain will be called upon by the players this week – take your medicine, whether you’re in the rough off the fairway or near a green; deep in one of the yawning bunkers; or facing a 50-footer with 10-feet of break. Pars are your friend. So, too, are some bogeys.

“It just comes to mental strength, right, who can endure the most and who can endure until the end,” Rahm said. “It’s that simple.”

“Where’s the easiest next putt from and where is the easiest next shot from?” McIlroy said. “There’s a lot of thinking ahead on this golf course.”

“You’ve got to drive it straight, especially at this golf course,” said world No. 1 and 2016 U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson. “You have to hit fairways. But once you hit fairways, it doesn’t get much easier from there.”

In all, doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun. Well, it doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun to everyone except world No. 3 Justin Thomas.

“I absolutely love the course,” Thomas said. “It’s probably one of my favorites I’ve ever played, to be honest. It’s hard, so it’s a different kind of fun, but it is fun.

“It’s not a 20-, 25-under kind of fun. It’s a U.S. Open. You know it’s going to be tough, and you know par is a really, really good score.

“I’m not going into this week scared of Winged Foot. It is probably the hardest golf course I’ve ever played. But that being said, I’m not going into it scared. It’s going to be such a grind. You just have to embrace it, otherwise it’s going to eat you alive. You’re going to be put in some uncomfortable places, and you as a person are going to feel uncomfortable. It’s really just how can you manage that.”

Source : Golf Week More   

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U.S. Open at Winged Foot field, by the rankings

The 120th U.S. Open tees off Thursday at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York. The field of 144 players will face a tough, (...)

U.S. Open at Winged Foot field, by the rankings

The 120th U.S. Open tees off Thursday at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York.

The field of 144 players will face a tough, par-70 golf course playing 7,477-yards and rough that could measure five or six inches.

Tiger Woods, paired with Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa for the first two rounds, returns to action after last competing at the BMW Championship where he finished T-51 and missed the cut for the Tour Championship.

Among the notable players in the field are defending champ Gary Woodland and reigning British Open champion Shane Lowry. Woodland and Lowry are paired with amateur Andy Ogletree for Thursday and Friday while FedEx Cup champion Dustin Johnson is grouped with Bryson DeChambeau and Tony Finau.

More: Tee times, TV | Betting odds | Power rankings | Bet on Tiger

The U.S. Open field is broken down below according to each player’s ranking in the Golfweek/Sagarin and in the Official World Golf Ranking.

The average ranking of the winner heading into the week in which they won PGA Tour event has been 73.08 in the Golfweek/Sagarins and 94.44 in the OWGR.

Player GW/Sagarin OWGR
 Jon Rahm 1 2
 Xander Schauffele 2 7
 Rory McIlroy 3 4
 Dustin Johnson 4 1
 Harris English 5 45
 Justin Thomas 6 3
 Daniel Berger 7 13
 Webb Simpson 8 6
 Will Zalatoris 9 119
 Patrick Cantlay 10 11
 Collin Morikawa 11 5
 Tiger Woods 12 21
 Bryson DeChambeau 13 9
 Patrick Reed 14 10
 Hideki Matsuyama 15 18
 Tyrrell Hatton 16 14
 Abraham Ancer 17 23
 Viktor Hovland 18 31
 Matthew Fitzpatrick 19 17
 Tony Finau 21 16
 Gary Woodland 22 26
 Mark Hubbard 23 133
 Matt Kuchar 24 27
 Louis Oosthuizen 25 25
 Sungjae Im 26 24
 Adam Hadwin 28 64
 Brian Harman 29 110
 Tommy Fleetwood 31 15
 Billy Horschel 33 33
 Adam Scott 34 12
 Joel Dahmen 35 61
 Ryan Palmer 37 35
 Ian Poulter 38 60
 Lee Hodges 39 248
 Brendon Todd 40 39
 Paul Casey 41 19
 Zach Johnson 42 178
 Kevin Na 43 34
 Sergio Garcia 44 46
 Dan McCarthy 45 184
 Adam Long 47 76
 Alex Noren 48 93
 Lanto Griffin 49 70
 Matthew Wolff 50 36
 Kevin Kisner 51 30
 Taylor Pendrith 52 157
 Richy Werenski 55 132
 Rickie Fowler 58 38
 Thomas Pieters 60 77
 Greyson Sigg 61 230
 Jason Day 62 37
 Cameron Champ 64 74
 Matt Jones 65 101
 Corey Conners 66 69
 Jordan Spieth 67 67
 Joaquin Niemann 74 49
 Chez Reavie 76 40
 Mackenzie Hughes 77 56
 J.T. Poston 79 72
 Christiaan Bezuidenhout 80 52
 Si Woo Kim 81 90
 Keegan Bradley 83 103
 Sebastián Muñoz 85 75
 Thomas Detry 86 80
 Justin Rose 87 20
 Robert MacIntyre 88 89
 Tyler Duncan 89 152
 Bubba Watson 92 62
 Shane Lowry 93 29
 Danny Lee 94 108
 Davis Riley 97 170
 Matthias Schwab 98 88
 Charles Howell III 100 86
 Byeong Hun An 103 57
 Phil Mickelson 104 53
 Max Homa 105 79
 Cameron Smith 107 50
 Kevin Streelman 108 43
 Rory Sabbatini 110 104
 Paul Waring 111 105
 Jason Kokrak 112 55
 Shaun Norris 113 84
 Andy Sullivan 114 96
 Troy Merritt 115 131
 Matt Wallace 117 47
 Brandon Wu 118 199
 Ryan Fox 120 168
 Henrik Stenson 121 41
 Marc Leishman 125 22
 Bernd Wiesberger 127 32
 Brandt Snedeker 132 73
 Steve Stricker 135 537
 Chesson Hadley 136 222
 Michael Lorenzo-Vera 139 83
 Erik van Rooyen 143 48
 Kurt Kitayama 145 99
 Lucas Glover 146 109
 Rafa Cabrera Bello 156 71
 Lee Westwood 158 42
 Martin Kaymer 159 87
 Renato Paratore 166 171
 Romain Langasque 171 106
 Victor Perez 172 51
 Shugo Imahira 176 65
 Connor Syme 187 206
 Michael Thompson 188 113
 Tom Lewis 193 54
 Sung Kang 197 68
 Lucas Herbert 202 78
 Justin Harding 219 120
 Rasmus Hojgaard 220 66
 Branden Grace 223 102
 Danny Willett 230 44
 Stephan Jaeger 239 266
 Graeme McDowell 242 59
 Jazz Janewattananond 256 63
 Adrian Otaegui 274 228
 Chan Kim 275 98
 Paul Barjon 291 169
 Jim Herman 299 94
 Jimmy Walker 341 347
 Andrew Putnam 343 124
 Eddie Pepperell 374 126
 Sami Valimaki 397 107
 Ryo Ishikawa 441 114
 Curtis Luck 493 375
 JC Ritchie 548 162
 Scott Hend 634 340
 John Augenstein N/R 2002
 Daniel Balin N/R 2002
 Ricky Castillo N/R N/R
 Cole Hammer N/R 2002
 Marty Jertson N/R 1659
 Takumi Kanaya N/R 240
 Lukas Michel N/R 1407
 Andy Ogletree N/R 2002
 John Pak N/R N/R
 Eduard Rousaud N/R 2002
 Sandy Scott N/R N/R
 James Sugrue N/R 2002
 Preston Summerhays N/R 2002
 Davis Thompson N/R 1513
 Ryan Vermeer N/R 1659
 Chun-an Yu N/R 872
Source : Golf Week More   

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