Wednesday, February 11, 2009
No U.S. Open For Cherry Hills
For most of 2008, I was a Colorado resident. I played golf all over the area, and am here to tell you that the reports of added length with all golf shots are true. At first you might not totally grasp the added length, but catch a driver in the sweet spot and check where that bad boy landed. I promise you'll be happily surprised.
That is why one writer over at Golf.com doesn't think Cherry Hills. host of the 1938, '60 and '78 U.S. Opens just isn't long enough to host our nation's championship, even with the current renovation and added length.
... the 2012 U.S. Amateur will be held at Cherry Hills Country Club in Denver. The latter proclamation was immediately interpreted by some as a sign that the U.S. Open would go to Cherry Hills in the following decade, since in the recent past the USGA has used the Amateur as a dress rehearsal for hosting the Open.
Along those lines, the course is currently being lengthened from 7,160 yards to about 7,500, a change at least partly undertaken with thoughts of luring back the Open ... The USGA also let it be known it doesn't think there's enough space at Cherry Hills for the Open's infrastructure — TV compounds, hospitality tents, etc. — but what no one seems to want to admit is that Cherry Hills will never see the Open again because even with renovations, the course is simply too short.
Strangest thing about all this. I had a conversation yesterday with one of the golf writers at FanHouse about the current reconstructions taking place at Pebble Beach for the upcoming 2010. They are adding length to the famous oceanfront golf course to make it more difficult for today's golfers.
I am not a historian of any sorts when it comes to this game, but I do believe in one thing. If you want to make these Open courses tougher, tighten the hell out of the fairways. Sure, the course has to have some length, but a 430-yard par-4 with a 15 yard wide fairway and devastating rough will bring back the art of the long iron.
Trust me, as someone who isn't shy with the swing speed, medium rough is about as intimidating as a girl with a "Take Me Home" sign hanging around her neck. You need to think. You need to worry.
The USGA needs to go back to its bread and butter. Make the courses more difficult with options, not with length.