Monday, June 22, 2015

2015 U. S. Open

If you've read my blog, you know I enjoy golf. Oh, I haven't played since college. I really can't afford it. But I like to watch it. Of all sports, it is the one perhaps where a person plays not so much against others, but really against himself'/herself and the course.

Perhaps the greatest challenge in all golf is the U. S. Open, which is held at a different location each year. Normally, the course is prepared to challenge the golfer. Often fairways are narrowed, roughs are allowed to grow taller and thicker, and pin locations are placed to challenge the greatest golfers in the game. Scores normally hover around even for the 4 day event, and occasionally the winner will have a score above par. The Open is truly golf's greatest test, and that is as it should be.

This year, the Open was played at Chambers Bay, located on Puget Sound south of Seattle and Tacoma, Washington. At first glance, the course looks like a links-style course, similar to those in Scotland and Ireland. There is only 1 tree on the entire course, and it does not factor into play. But Chambers Bay is not a true links course; it just looks like one.

The elevation changes of the course challenge players with shots that go up and down. The players also find themselves walking up and down -- a lot. In fact, it takes 10 miles of walking to play the course. The grass, both in fairways and greens, is mostly fescue, and when mixed with other grasses gives the course a dry, splotchy look. Greens are not level, and balls can roll longer distances than on most courses. Sometimes that is good, and sometimes it isn't.

Some players were complimentary of the course; others weren't. But at the end of the day, those at the top of the leaderboard were the best players in the world, and that is what a challenging course is intended to do. Only the best golfers in the world should hoist the US Open trophy.

The winner this year was Jordan Spieth, a 21 year old from Dallas, Texas. Spieth also won the Masters earlier this year, so he has achieved half of golf's grand slam so far this year. The next major tournament this year is the British Open, which is being held at the home of golf, St. Andrews. Now, that should be fun to watch.

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