Will Shinnecock Hills Get the US Open Back on Track?
Article by Golf Journalist Joe Hughes
One week from now, it will be major time again as the US Open gets underway at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, New York. After Patrick Reed’s deserved Masters victory back in April, the world’s best have worked on their games and will be battling it out once again for the second major of the season. The US Open has always been known for its difficulty, with the tournament taking place on some of the toughest courses in America, year after year. It is not unusual to look at the leader board on a US Open Sunday and see that those in contention are all over par for the week, and that could well be the case, this year.
The return to Shinnecock Hills seems like a welcome one after Brooks Koepka was able to storm to victory with a huge 16-under-par at last year’s event which was held at Erin Hills. Many criticised the course and said that the layout was not tough enough for a tournament that has such a reputation. However, this does happen occasionally and it can’t be spot on every year. The last score that stands out comes from the 2011 championship when Rory McIlroy also won with a total of 16-under, but the next year they got it right once again when 1-over-par was Webb Simpson’s magic number. So, is Shinnecock Hills the perfect course to get the US Open back on track?
Well, the course has a rich history and has hosted the US Open on four occasions prior to 2018, with the first of those coming way back in 1896. This shows that the club and its staff must be doing something right to ensure that they are selected to host this prestigious event again and again over a lengthy period of time. Retief Goosen was the last victor here in 2004 and finished two strokes ahead of the field on four-under-par, and this was in fact the lowest US Open winning score at the course in its current format. Each time that the tournament has been hosted at the New York venue it has produced a tougher test that the previous year and this is exactly what golf fans will be hoping for again next week.
It looks like this may be the case as there have been a number of changes made to the course layout in preparation for the 2018 championship, most notably, the narrowing of several fairways in 2017. This will mean that those hoping to shoot low will need to use their head, and plot their way around the course, hitting fairway after fairway. However, in addition to this, the course has also been lengthened thanks to some brand new tee boxes. So they will need to be long , as well. With constant talk of how far the golf ball goes nowadays, this was a necessary change if the course is going to have any chance of keeping these guys close to par.
I believe that this may be the toughest Shinnecock Hills has ever played for a US Open. If the weather holds up and they are able to make the greens a little more firm than they are currently said to be, then this could be an absolute gem of a major championship.
Do you agree? Is Shinnecock Hills the right course to reinstall the US Open’s tough reputation? Let us know!
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