Golf-U.S. Open could be bomber's paradise: McDowell

Tue May 20, 2014 3:51pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

(Reuters) - Past U.S. Opens have been notorious for narrow fairways and thick rough but next month's edition at Pinehurst in North Carolina will buck that trend and could end up as a bomber's paradise, says 2010 winner Graeme McDowell.

The fabled Pinehurst No. 2 course, designed by Donald Ross and restored to his initial specifications by the architectural team of Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, will have wide fairways and no rough whatsoever for the June 12-15 championship.

While the renowned turtleback greens remain largely unchanged and will once again challenge the short games of the world's best players, McDowell has fears that the par-70 layout will favor the power hitters.

"Pinehurst is an iron-shot golf course, a second-shot golf course," Northern Irishman McDowell told Reuters while preparing for the second of the year's four major championships.

"In 2005 the set-up there was a little much, shall we say?" he smiled, referring to the most recent U.S. Open held at Pinehurst where the rough was up and only nine players out of 156 broke par in the opening round.

"It didn't need to be punishing tee shots as much as it was (in 2005). You want to let guys have a go at these pin positions from out of position (after the first shot).

"I am just worried that this year's U.S. Open, with no rough, is going to give the bombers a little too much space, that's my only concern."


Mar 8, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; ?Graeme McDowell tees off from the 5th hole during the third round of the WGC - Cadillac Championship golf tournament at TPC Blue Monster at Trump National Doral. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports