CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters) - American Ryan Moore says there is a “90 percent chance” that next month’s U.S. Open will be won by a player who does not arrive early at the relatively unknown venue, Chambers Bay.
The world number 32 disagrees with a comment recently made by a top U.S. Golf Association (USGA) official that any player who gets in only a couple of practice rounds will have no chance of winning the June 15-18 event.
Moore lives in Puyallup, only a few miles (kilometers) from Chambers Bay in Washington State and he is one of the few PGA Tour players familiar with the course, a new links-style layout adjacent to Puget Sound.
USGA executive director Mike Davis said last month: “I would contend that there is no way, no way, a player will have success here at Chambers Bay unless he really studies the golf course and learns it.
“The idea of coming in and playing two practice rounds and having your caddie just walk it and using your yardage book, that person is done. (He) will not win the U.S. Open.”
Moore acknowledges that the course will take longer than most to learn but he felt that Davis was overstating things.
“I think there’s a 90 percent chance he (Davis) will be wrong because someone’s going to win that golf tournament and pretty much everybody is going to be showing up the week of,” four-time PGA Tour winner Moore told Reuters on Thursday.
Most players will not arrive at Chambers Bay until the week of the tournament, though there are notable exceptions including Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott, both of whom plan an early visit.
Despite Moore’s suspicion that Davis will be proved wrong, the Washington State resident plans to prepare meticulously for the year’s second major.
“I’m going to be there the entire week before, so I’ll probably play a good five or six rounds on it before the tournament,” Moore, 32, said. “I’ve probably played it five or six times, (but) I haven’t played it in four or five years.
“It’s a U.S. Open on a true links-style golf course with fescue greens, fescue fairways and a lot of elevation changes too, so it’s going to be interesting.
“For me, it’s all about the condition. I’ve never played it with the greens firm and fast, so we’ll see what condition they’re able to get it into. It’s going to be interesting. It’s certainly a course with a lot of character.”
Moore was speaking after shooting a one-under-par 71 in the opening round of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow.
Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes