The story this week from Erin Hills continues to be about fescue. Many players have made a special effort to let the USGA that they are, to say the least, concerned:
Not everyone thinks the rough is a problem. Rory McIllroy made it clear during his press conference yesterday that he was fine with the deep rough.
We have 60 yards from the left line to the right line. You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here. If we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home. These are the widest fairways we’ve ever played in a U.S. Open.
The USGA appeared to be satisfied with the course as it was. That was until last evening when they began cutting back some of the fescue on a handful of holes. However, the USGA went out of their way to make it clear that the limited cutting was being done due to the recent weather and not because of complaints coming from the field as heard in the following video from The Golf Channel:
With excitement building for the event, but with the action still a few days away, it seems something needed to be the topic of discussion. There is no question that there will be players who will lose their shot at this championship by hitting into the fescue at Erin Hills. That’s part of it. That is the test that the course architects and the USGA have decided to present to the players this week.
Will it allow us to have a champion on Sunday that we can agree is appropriate? The standard argument that all of the players will be presented with the same challenge seems to answer that question with a yes. However, as the USGA indicated with their decision to start mowing, there is concern that variable weather conditions could make for an uneven test for the field.
Will the U.S. Open be entertaining to watch? I think we can safely answer that question yes as well, even with the fescue in place.