Koepka Takes Unusual U.S. Open
If you watched any of the U.S. Open this past weekend, you probably would agree with one major point – it didn’t look much like a U.S. Open. This was far from a traditional layout for the nation’s biggest golf tournament, as it wasn’t the tree-lined, heavy rough routing that we are used to seeing. Although, the USGA has been using more of these kinds of courses in recent years, such as Pinehurst in 2014 and Chambers Bay in 2015.
To say the least, the reviews for this kind of U.S. Open setup are mixed. Some golf fans love to see new venues in various parts of the country, while others prefer to see tradition respected. When all was said and done at Erin Hills, Brooks Koepka ran away with the competition, taking his first major title with a score of -16. That’s right – sixteen under par at a U.S. Open. Shinnecock Hills or Oakmont, this was not.
Where’s the Wind?
The winning score was so low in part due to Koepka’s impressive play, of course, and in part because of the lack of wind that came through the area during the event. The course would have been much more difficult had there been significant winds, but that simply was not the case. Even though it featured an extremely long yardage on the scorecard, Erin Hills did not play long for pros like Koepka who can pound it well over 300 yards with ease. The fairways were wide to keep the course playable in the event of heavy winds – but without those winds, the long hitters were able to swing for the fences with very little concern for finding trouble.
In addition to Koepka getting his first major title, the other big story from Erin Hills was the struggles of the top players in the world. Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, and Rory McIlroy all missed the cut, severely affecting the appeal of the tournament to a wide audience on the weekend. While Jordan Spieth did make the cut, he was never a factor near the top of the leaderboard. For a game which often thrives on star power, there was little to be found on Sunday afternoon.
Looking ahead at the years to come, the U.S. Open venues will be widely varied. The next three will be at courses which have hosted the event several times –Shinnecock Hills, Pebble Beach, and Winged Foot. 2021 will feature a return to the site of the 2008 championship, Torrey Pines South. The location of the incredible Ryder Cup comeback in 1999 will play host to the U.S. Open in 2022, as The Country Club in Brookline, Mass welcomes the tournament for the first time since 1988. Then, in 2023, Los Angeles Country Club makes it debut appearance as a U.S. Open venue.
What did you think of the 2017 version of the U.S. Open from Erin Hills? Did you enjoy the variety, or would you prefer a classic venue with a combination of big trees and long rough? Stop by Cape and Islands Golf Shop in Hyannis, MA to chat about this and any other golf topic. We hope to see you soon!