Mike Weir, Rocco Mediate prove once again short hitters can thrive at the U.S. Open
Every single year leading up to the U.S. Open, we hear the same prediction from a variety of golf pundits: “This is going to be a long-hitter’s golf course.”
We heard it last year at Torrey Pines South, when the longest golf course in U.S. Open history was presented. And in the playoff was a long-hitting Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate, playing “old man golf” with the reliable, relatively short draw.
And heading into this week, Bethpage Black was going to play long, thanks to A.W. Tillinghast’s many raised greens and an as usual U.S. Open caliber setup. Then, heavy rains meant there would be little to no roll for tee shots in the early rounds.
And, again, who do we have on top on Friday? Mike Weir, firing a blistering 64, while driving it on average 255 yards, over 49 yards behind the driving distance leader, Shawn Stefani (3-over).
And shortly back is Rocco, at 266 yards average thus far, who was a few short putts away from being at 4 or 5 under.
And a brief glance at the list of winners of the U.S. Open, there really is no huge bias for long hitters in the U.S. Open, for every Tiger Woods and Angel Cabrera win there’s a Jim Furyk and Corey Pavin sprinkled in there.
The USGA’s set up, with 500-plus yard par 4s and 250-plus par 3s can often bait us into thinking the power game is going to be important here, but as usual, it’s going to be who has all the shots in the bag, doesn’t three-putt and stays away from double bogeys at Bethpage in 2009 - just as always.
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