Tour Confidential: Was Thursday’s U.S. Open setup too easy?
The U.S. Open kicked off with a bang Thursday. Rickie Fowler shot 62. Two groups later, Xander Schauffele shot 62. The afternoon wave came up with two 64s and two 65s. This isn’t exactly the kind of scoring we are used to at this championship. So…was the initial setup too easy?
Zephyr Melton, assistant editor (@zephyrmelton): LACC had plenty of hype in the lead up to this championship, and many people likely conflated the idea of a good golf course with the idea of a hard golf course. From the start, we knew there would be plenty of birdie opportunities on the North Course. We also thought there would be big numbers lurking, but on Thursday, that didn’t exactly pan out. Yes, a pair of U.S. Open scoring records and the lowest opening-round scoring average in championship history is unbecoming of the U.S. Open’s burly reputation, but scores are unlikely to be this low all week. John Bodenhamer has a habit of throwing out the easiest setup on Day 1, but if recent history is any indication, the course will show more teeth as the week wears on.
James Colgan, news and features editor (@jamescolgan26): Uhh, yeah. The golf was great, but I never want to see a player pull the string on an approach shot at a U.S. Open again. Firm this bad boy up. Let those teeth show. We’ll all be better for it.
Josh Sens, senior writer (@joshsens): Yes. Give the people what they want, which is punishment. But it was also a perfect storm. Wide fairways. Calm winds. Marine layer. Some friendly hole locations. I heard credible predictions early this week that the winning score could be as low as minus 18. Let’s hope not. And I doubt it. Things will toughen up over the weekend. Greens will get firmer. Targets tougher. They still need to get a full field around the course in a reasonable amount of time on Friday. After the cut, we’ll get more of what we expect from a U.S. Open. But the winning score will still be double-digits under par.
Jack Hirsh, assistant editor, (@JR_HIRSHey): Low scoring on a golf course is a product of the weather more than anything else. The USGA set up the course expecting for the sun to break through the marine layer. That didn’t happen, plus there was some misting in the morning, so we never got those crusty, baked out conditions we wanted. The USGA will certainly move the tees back on those monstrous par-3s and tuck the pins to really induce some carnage with the same forecast expected tomorrow. Conditions are supposed to get drier for the weekend and I still don’t think we’ll see a winning score better than five or six under. Let the pros have their fun today, but I personally feel bad for what they might have to endure the next three days. It might be a completely different golf course by the end of the week.
Dylan Dethier, senior writer (@dylan_dethier): The golf course rocks. I want some more madness, for sure — not a single round in the 80s?! But it still delivered plenty of interesting variance. Fowler, for instance, beat his playing partners Jason Day and Justin Rose by 11 and 14, respectively. It still did a damn good job of identifying the guys in control of their ball. Onward!