USGA leader applauds Chambers Bay superintendents

By |  April 28, 2015 0 Comments

USGA Executive Director Mike Davis ready to speak at the U.S. Open media day on April 27. (Photo: USGA/Steven Gibbons)

About 200 members of the media gathered at Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place, Wash., for the 2015 U.S. Open media day on Monday. Among those available for questioning were some of the United States Golf Association’s (USGA’s) leadership, including Tom O’Toole Jr., president; Diana Murphy, vice president; Reg Jones, senior director of U.S. Open; and Mike Davis, executive director.

In Davis’ opening remarks about the championship “inside the ropes,” he made a point to recognize the superintendents charged to maintain the fine fescue of Chambers Bay.

“The two real superintendents on the course — Eric Johnson and Josh Lewis — these guys are all‑stars. I make this comment virtually every year, that the most important person at the U.S. Open is indeed the superintendents,” Davis said. “They’re the ones that make it happen on the golf course, other than the drama the players bring us. And guys, have you been superb. You know your fescue grasses, and thank you for all your support.”

Davis also pointed out some of the unique characteristics of Chambers Bay in comparison to previous U.S. Open hosts and shared the background of the course.

“It’s obviously expansive, and I say that because we don’t have anything that we play a U.S. Open on that’s remotely similar to this. Where you can be in parts and parts of the property and see all 18 holes played at once.” Davis said.

Davis repeatedly mentioned the flexibility Chambers Bay will allow the USGA. Specifically, he touched on the “ribbon tees” Chambers Bay’s architects put in. Expect to see tee markers on places you may have never seen before.

“We may end up putting tee markers on slight slopes… a little downhill slope, a little uphill slope, a side slope,” Davis said. “Virtually every hole out there we will be playing from different teeing grounds on different days.”

Did I mention flexibility? Davis said they have decided that the first and 18th holes will flip pars on certain days.

“Some days the first hole will play as a par 4 while the 18th hole plays as a par 5. And then other days we’ll play the first hole as a par 5 and the closing hole as a par 4,” Davis said.

“Easily, easily the widest golf course we have ever played a U.S. Open on,” Davis said. “I look at the 13th hole and that is 105 yards wide. To give you an idea, just to put it in perspective, when we go to Winged Foot or Oakmont, fairways there may be 24 to 30, 32 yards wide.”

Davis said the putting greens will be rolling around the 12 to 12.5 range on the USGA Stimpmeter but he couldn’t give an exact figure on how long the course will play. “We don’t know. It probably will be somewhere between 7,200 and 7,600 yards on a given day.”

If you are east of the Mississippi River expect to stay up later if you want to catch the end of the action.

“On Saturday, Sunday, we do plan, I believe, a 7 p.m. local finish, which back east is a 10 p.m. finish.”

2014 U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer made an appearance at the press conference from San Francisco where he is preparing for the World Golf Championship Match Play Event this week. Kaymer shared his limited idea of Chambers Bay and what group of guys he thinks you should be looking out come tournament time.

“It’s a links golf course, going to play very fast. Some tee shots there are quite downhill. A little up-slope,” Kaymer said. “I think it looks like a links golf course with really good weather. So, I think that that’s going to be an advantage… I think that you should look out for the Brits.”


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