US Open Week at Pebble: Take One
I have spent the better part of a fortnight in an attempt to determine which golfers will play well at Pebble Beach and which elements of the course will cause the greatest impact on the outcome of the tournament. I’ve ruled out weather as a factor; unlike Bethpage (2002 and 2009), where it is guaranteed to rain, Pebble presents no such issue. In fact, thanks to one of those weather web sites, I determined that there will be little chance (10 percent one day) of a rain interruption. Might there be wind? Mos def.
It is Wednesday morning on this island in the Niagara River and I feel as distant from the happenings on the Monterey Peninsula as possible. Someone at Pebble is about to spend her or his third day following the competitors as they hit multiple shots into multiple greens, and is about to realize which unheralded entrant sees a path toward recognition…so I write.
I have a suspicion that the 17th hole will derail, rather than crown, a victor (as it did in 1972 and 1982). I also believe that the event will not have concluded on the 55th hole, as it did for practical purposes in 2000. My seers tell me that the event will not be as wind-challenged as it was in 1992, a survivalist’s dream and a purist’s nightmare. In the beginning, middle and end, the influence of Mike Davis on the US Open will resonate.
I’ve heard that the tees on #4 might be moved up to accommodate a driveable par four on the card, but my vote goes to #15…it might be a bit trickier to pull off, yet it occurs near the end of the round, setting up the possibility of a stunning, 4-5 under par finish over the closing quartet. The fairway movement, away from the bunkering on the left of hole #6, might be Davis’ reaction to some interesting re-bunkering by management. He can’t do anything about the sand, but he sure can bring the alley as far right as possible. Most important will be his work on #14. No one beyond the sadists gained pleasure from the 9s that populated the cards of the best professionals in February at the AT&T; elimination of edacious rough near that putting surface will allow short-game master shots to surface.
The golf course will receive the focus, more than it did in any of the previous Open championships. Not the setting, the golf course. In the end, a champion will steal that spotlight and the 2010 USGA Open will be remembered not for the stage, but for the actors.
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