Olympic Club is no stranger to testing the limits of "fairness" in setup, as Ron Whitten explains in his Golf Digest feature story revisiting the 1998 boondoggle at No. 18 green.
Now that the finishing green has been rebuilt twice and sounds like it's finally right, the discussion should center on the tweaks to this year's setup. Easily the best change Mike Davis has made with the Olympic Club setup was the shift of No. 1, a pushover par-5 in the last two Opens, to a par-4. This led to the 17th, a goofy and dreary par-4 in those Opens, playing as a three-shotter, just as it does for the members.
But Davis added a short grass area right of the green to install some danger and infamously added a last-minute fairway bunker to spice up the lay-up decision. Before the Open, I asked Davis if there was a danger that this short grass area would send balls into play onto the 18th hole and cause traffic issues, but he assured me that would not be the case. Golfweek's Brad Klein believes that will be the case, as he stated in this hole-by-hole guide to the course.
Well, I haven't seen the setup yet but caddie Todd Montoya tweeted this video that's making the rounds and it sure looks like the new short grass area, if not a traffic issue, will at least be a sensitive feature for the maintenance and setup teams.