What’s at stake at the U.S. Open at Shinnecock

After hosting a tumultuous U.S. Open in 2004, Shinnecock Hills Golf Club and the USGA have a second chance at getting it right.

Released on 6/5/2018

Transcript

00:00
I think there's a lot to lose,
00:01
there's a lot to gain as well.
00:03
But, I think what there is to lose is any kind of reprise
00:06
or any kind of specter of 2004 coming back.
00:09
That was the first time that Shinnecock
00:11
really was dealing with the modern game
00:13
that had advanced tremendously to the advancement
00:16
of the golf ball right around 2000, 1999.
00:19
The ball was going farther.
00:21
And as a result Shinnecock was playing shorter.
00:23
The USGA decided let's, we need to push the conditions here
00:26
so it's harder to get the ball closer to the hole
00:28
'cause they're hitting too many wedges.
00:31
It finally caught up with them
00:32
on the seventh green on Sunday
00:34
where they got caught a little bit under estimating
00:37
the wind drying out the green.
00:39
And by mid-morning, it was clear the green
00:41
was just not able to hold shots anymore.
00:44
And balls were rolling into the bunker,
00:45
off the falls front, kind of uncontrollably.
00:48
It looked bad.
00:49
And it was bad in terms of unfairness to the players.
00:52
And so they had to stop play
00:53
and actually put water on the green.
00:55
And just that spectacle,
00:57
of watering the green in the middle of the round,
01:00
when some of the players hadn't played it yet,
01:02
suddenly it was like, man, the USGA really screwed up.
01:05
Shinnecock looked like an inappropriate site,
01:08
like it couldn't hold The Open anymore
01:10
because it was just too short and the game had outgrown it.
01:13
And so it left a bad taste.
01:15
Because of what happened in 2004,
01:17
they're clearly worried about it being stigmatized again.
01:20
So, they're being extremely careful to make sure
01:22
that Shinnecock has the challenge that they really want.
01:26
If there's a sense that the setup didn't work
01:28
or that the golf course, as great as it is,
01:30
simply doesn't challenge the greatest players anymore
01:33
without being tricked up, that devalues Shinnecock,
01:35
that devalues The US Open, it makes the USGA look inept.
01:39
And all those things, in a very sensitive time for golf,
01:44
would be debilitating to the USGA and The Open.
01:46
And The Open has to be successful
01:48
for the USGA to be successful, that's where they're judged.
01:51
But, everybody can see on the greatest stage
01:52
whether The US Open was a success or not.
01:55
And it's sometimes judged unfairly.
01:57
By the same token it's got a lot to gain
01:59
because of quote unquote glorious US Open at Shinnecock
02:03
on this incredible ideal pure site of golf.
02:07
Elevates golf in general and brings The US Open
02:10
back to perhaps being considered the most interesting
02:13
and the most compelling championship.
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