Mean, brutal and mean.
The Three Witches of Eastwick? The misguided business card of a law firm? The shattering identity of a heavy metal band?
No, these are just a few of the words that immediately came out of players’ mouths when asked to describe the rugged edge of the South Course at Torrey Pines in San Diego, home of the 121st edition of the US Open.
Yes, those words and similar words are used every year when players are asked to give their accounts on the tall grass at the national championship, but that doesn’t make it any less interesting to listen to how the contestants deal with it.
The rough, after all, is where many dashboards go to die.
” It’s mean. Watchers are going to have to really be on their game because around the greens you can hit shots five feet from the edge of the green and you have to really search hard to find your ball, ”said 2015 US Open champion Jordan. Spieth. “It looks like there are graduated roughs on some holes, and even that first cut (on the fairway) of 12 and since 14 are the two that come to mind, even the first cut is mowed in you.
“So there isn’t much you can do. You’re not really advancing more than a 7 iron for a lot of those lies, you’re just trying to knock it down the fairway.
Rough at the 121st US Open at Torrey Pines. (Photo: David Dusek-Golfweek)
But back to the rough greenside for a moment. As Spieth said, the rough around the greens will swallow golf balls whole. Well add some feet. A clip aired on the Golf Channel showed Viktor Hovland working in a rough near a green with the grass reaching his shins.
Patrick Reed, the 2018 Masters champion who won the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in January, is one of the best in the game around the greens. But he will have his hands full this week.
“It’s mean,” he said. “On hole 9, I threw two balls and they landed in about the same spot. One of them jumped into the rough, and one of them got into the kikuyu and sat down because it’s so thick, I felt like I could almost hit the driver. The other one was maybe three feet from him and sank to the bottom.
“I could move the one that sank to the bottom maybe six inches in front of me. I’ve seen guys go under golf balls this week.
“Now it will continue to grow, to get longer and longer. So it’s going to be a real test around the green, but it’s going to be a fun test.
Consult the distance book: Torrey Pines South Course for the US Open
Amusing? OK, if you say so, Mr. Reed. The southern course will play as one of the longest in championship history, at around 7,600 yards for a par of 71. The rough will make it play even longer as most players will prioritize precision over length and try. to keep the ball in play with clubs off the tee.
And the rough will have many, if not all, players praying a little.
“Overall if you look at the rough it’s kind of uneven,” said world number 6 Xander Sc Chaudele. “You can get either a really, really bad lie or a not-so-bad lie, almost a flyer, which is also pretty hard to judge.
“I’m not an agronomist, but there are probably between three and six different kinds of weeds on the property, and depending on where you lack it, you can be really lucky or really unlucky.
The rough is so punishing that 2019 US Open champion Gary Woodland is hoping to hit the sand if he misses the fairways.
“It’s brutal,” he said. “They’ve cut it down a bit since Sunday because you were losing balls around the greens. But it’s hard. We don’t usually see rough like this.
This makes driving the golf ball down the fairway even more important.
“I think you’ll be a little more aggressive on the greens. Driving the golf ball down the fairway is huge this week. I’m going to try to miss the fairway bunkers because you can at least get him to go forward.
Last year at Winged Foot in New York City, Bryson DeChambeau made his way to the US Open title, choosing to let the big dog eat despite the rough, brutal and meanness. His way of thinking was that you’re going to miss the fairways anyway, so why not be as close to the greens as possible. With his power and shorter clubs in the greens, DeChambeau devastated those who insist on precision rules in a US Open as he missed almost half of his fairways in regulation and still won by six shots and was the only player to finish under par.
“I would say the rough is a little different so it won’t be as easy to pass I think with the wedge here at Torrey Pines versus Winged Foot,” said DeChambeau. “But having said that, I think it will be the same kind of strategy. If I can keep hitting the front of the greens, putting in two shots when I’m in trouble, I’m going to give myself a big chance this week.
“When I hit it down the fairway I have to take advantage of those holes, I have to take advantage of par 5s here. If I can do these two things, I feel like I will have a great chance to compete.
“I really don’t know if the bunkers or the rough are better, but getting as close to the green as possible will be one of my strategies for sure.”
John Wood, longtime looper for Matt Kuchar and Hunter Mahan, will be wearing a mic this week instead of a golf bag as an NBC analyst. He wonders what the future holds for the rough at the US Open.
“Ithis is a dilemma right now. Yes Bryson had to do something similar to what he did last year i think there is gonna be a lot of head scratching going on“said Wood. “Typically an American OpFr was a Tom Kite or Curtis Strange – take the ball in the fairway, place it in the middle of the green, collect your par and continue.
“It has changed a lot in recent years. Long hitters have a huge advantage.
And if DeChambeau or another banger makes their way to victory, Woods believes the US Golf Association will have a “big, long discussion about what to do in the future” when setting up the courses. . Thicker, rougher? Less harsh?
Whatever happens, crude will be a topic of discussion every year.