In what has been the most convoluted season in PGA Tour history, and a week after the start of the “2021” season, now the time is upon us for the second major championship of the year and our national championship – the United States Open, held this year at the famed Wing Foot Golf Club West Course, in Mamaroneck, New York.
Established in 1923, Winged Foot was designed by noted architect A.W. Tillinghast, one of the pioneers of modern golf course architecture, and provides one of the stiffest tests of golf to be found anywhere in the world. It has been home to six previous U.S. Opens, one PGA Championship, as well as two U.S. Women’s Opens, one Senior Open, and two U.S. Amateurs.
The West Course, while usually a Par 72, will play as a Par 70 for this major, and logs in at a stout 7,477 yards this week. In four of the five previous U.S. Opens held on this track, the winning score has been above Par, so we know that we are in for a very stern test of golf this week.
We need just heed the words of Steve Radibeau, the director of golf courses at Winged Foot. According to The Journal News, he kept saying, ”Plus 8, plus 8, plus 8,” indicating that would be what they think is going to be an ideal winning score to ”cap a very difficult summer.”
Winged Foot is difficult as it is, but by all accounts is in store to play even tougher than normal, with the rough surrounding the narrow fairways said to be some 11-12 inches deep, where wayward tee shots will most likely come with a stroke penalty if found in the deep stuff.
Approach will be key, as these will be some of the wildest, craziest greens the players have ever seen. If you miss your spot on approach, the undulations and tiers will punish even the slightest of wayward shots.
The weather looks to be a tad cool in New York this week as well, other than Thursday, Which looks fine enough with sunny spells and temperatures reaching 78°F. The change will come Friday as it is set to be cloudy with the occasional rain shower, with the temperatures around 66°F. The weekend shows no more signs of improvement, with thick cloud and temperatures remaining much the same. The wind speeds are fairly settled at 9-12 mph.
All in all, this is going to be an exciting tournament, as the cream of class will surely rise to the top in conditions as tough as these, where Par is a bonus and bogeys will be happily made and moved on from. The course itself is a beauty, hiding the diabolical nature of its layout, and surely a worthy champion will be crowned on Sunday as the 120th champion of the U.S. Open.
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