Monday, 24 June 2013

Reflections on Merion (or Why Charley Hoffman Must Never Be Allowed Anywhere Near a USGA Venue Selection Committee)

"I know that - apart from next year at Pinehurst - calling for more width in the U.S. Open is a forlorn hope. I have a suggestion though. I would like to see dry, "flier" rough rather than the 'chip-out' long grass we had at Merion. Maybe the wet weather precluded doing anything about the thickness of the rough, but it would have been nice to see guys attempting risky recovery shots (perhaps the most exciting aspect of professional golf) rather than hacking out 50 yards or so up the fairway. Anyone and everyone can do that." - Geoff Ogilvy
"Merion for the U.S. Open rewarded the longest and straightest hitters and put no value in recovery. Make a mistake and par was all but out of the question. Had tournament venues always been set up like this, we never would have heard of the likes of Arnold Palmer and Seve Ballesteros, among others." - Anthony Pioppi
"Merion is a great course and showed that. The super and his staff did an incredible presentation of one of the classics. Mike Davis tried to screw it up with another "manipulation" of a great course, an opinion I have been preaching for some time that I think many now are starting to see. Just no reason to mickey mouse up a few holes so that a certain final score is achieved. This tournament would have still been special with a winning score of 5 to 8 under." - Ol' Harv - a Geoff Shackelford commenter
"...this is our St. Andrews and while the setup definitely had its quirks and mistakes, Merion is so good that it overshadowed any quirks." - Geoff Shackelford
"The USGA's Mike Davis has in the last two years impressed me with his insight into course setup. As you may know, I have opined in the past about what in my opinion were lackluster setups with bad decisions. Hey Mike, you nailed it, you got it right, yeah, I might have had the fairways a little bit wider and you didn't use my two favorite pin positions (#3, #16) because the speeds wouldn't have made them fair. Other than that, I've got nothing to say except, thanks for a job well done!" - Armen Suny

Then, on the flipside, we had this...
"'No,' said Charley Hoffman, who finished T-45 at the U.S. Open at +15, when asked if he'd like to see Merion host another U.S. Open. 'It had horrible logistics, the gallery was very restricted, but I guess that's what happens when an organization runs a golf tournament.'
Hoffman added that he didn't mind the course setup, but said the site just wasn't equipped to hold a U.S. Open, a thought echoed by Nicholas Thompson:
'We went from Olympic, which was as smooth as a tournament could be, to Merion, which was just difficult,' Thompson said, who finished T-56. 'It's a great golf course . . . but there are no hotels near the course and there's only one road leading to the course, so in the back of your mind you're always thinking, 'Am I going to catch traffic and be late for my tee time?'" - Golf Digest
So these two would never entertain 'America's St Andrews' as an Open venue again, because their commute is longer than they'd like, there's congestion to be factored in and they have to leave early to dodge the traffic.

In other words, for four days of the year, their working life starts to look dangerously similar to yours and mine.

And we simply can't have that.

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