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Video: The Mood For Merion, 2nd Hole Flyover

The 556-yard par-5 second features arguably the most Tom Meeksian fairway contour of the Mike Davis era. For those that don't recall, Meeks often used straight lines and disregarded bunkering in a quest to force U.S. Open players to hit uncomfortable shots even if the architecture said otherwise. Or he just forced them to make a carry that no everyone could make.

And sadly, the wonderful par-5 has all the Meeks markings.

Note all of the rough between fairway and leftside bunkers, and also the effort to force players to flirt with the out-of-bounds down the right to navigate what is essentially a pretty easy hole and putting surface in the modern game. But, Davis deemed these measures necessary to keep Merion relevant, I just hope they don't sour players on what is otherwise a beautiful hole.

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Reader Comments (28)

Such a shame that they have to do this to "protect par" on a wonderful course such as this.Still can't wait to watch it!
05.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChico
The fairway lines are good compared to the newly added approach bunker.....
05.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterFarouck
Amazing how a club so steeped in tradition and history, can't get past their egos. Have they learned nothing about this game, over all those years?
05.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGhost Golfer
Why doesn't Davis just pick the winner he wants as well. He controls everything else in golf. Obviously not a fan of this guy who continues to show he blows Tim Finchem away in the ego department. Who else believes they know what is right for everyone in terms of architecture, rules, etc ?? Let the boys play the course and let the weather dictate the score. Stop manipulating these great courses.
05.24.2013 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv
GG you do mean USGA when invoking the word club correct? The club as in Merion has from what I hear just gone along with what Mike Davis has suggested, experimented, and in some cases implemented for this major championship.

Most Merion members are kept in the dark and seem content to let this tournament happen. If they need or care to reverse any Davis changes they certainly will.
05.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMGM
Harv thats way too high brow of a concept for Davis or any world stage golf administrator who has ascended to their lofty position to adopt. These people must put up a facade in order to justify their lot in golf and life. So much so that they turn people like you and I way off. Rather unfortunate if you ask me. Where do you suppose the high road mold was broken?

PS - I heard last night that the rough at Merion is unusually rough
05.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMGM
And I always thought that straight lines are never (or hardly) seen in nature...bowling anyone?

Seriously though, wouldn't it be more of a challenge if the fairway was cut so that it snaked a bit Left and/or Rightt...perhaps in a staggered pattern? Might actually make the pros pay attention in their practice rounds to see where the fairway widens out here or there.

Looking forward to the no rough two-in-one US Opens in Pinehurst.
05.24.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
You guys are over-reacting. Other than the right side of the fairway being practically underneath the canopy of some trees, there is very little to complain about in that fly-over. The fairway lines are 'curvy' compared to some past US Opens.

The setup might not be what we would want to play every day, but lets not forget, it is the US open and it's doesn't need to play like the greater Boston Invitational.
05.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
Anybody know how the set-up will be different from the US Am, I was there as a spectator and thought it was the hardest course I had ever walked. I verified this by comparing scoring at Philly CC (where 1 round was played during qualifying), over 25 players that shot in the '60s at Philly CC didn't break 80 at Merion.
If you go to Google Maps right now and find Merion, the images you see (until you zoom down too close) were taken when they were making the fairway changes. You can see the old fairway areas killed off by pesticide and weed killer. Once you zoom all the way down, you have very current images of the changes completely made. Pretty interesting.
05.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris from DE
Here is a little article about some changes made after the recent US Am and Walker Cup...
05.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMGM
Hre's a little article about some changes made since the recent US Am and Walker Cup...
05.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMGM
Press Agent - I tend to agree with you. Whats the big deal? Its a one off event meant to be harder than hard. But if I were Hugh Wilson or the Valentine family I might be a little less than excited about this edition of the USGA coming back to its BFF Merion GC.
05.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMGM
Sorry last link to a series of articles about Merion and the US Open...
05.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMGM
Didn't know Tom Meeks helped Hugh Wilson out on this one! Hmmm...
05.24.2013 | Unregistered Commenterpro
gents, its a driver 4 iron. For the Bubbas its probably a 3 wood 4 iron.

Way its set up, at least they guys have to worry abt hitting driver. If we do what Geoff wants, its just bombs away.
05.24.2013 | Unregistered Commentersmails
Dear Mr. Davis, please remove or mow down all the rough and just make the greens ridiculously hard and fast. Encourage the pros to hit Driver and 3 wood and cause them to get out of position. Rough as a hazard is so overrated. When you have fairways as wide as a two lane road, all the strategy and positioning required to score on an awesome course like Merion is gone. Can't wait for Pinehurst next year!
05.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGMan
@ Chris from DE - I tried it. Good pick up. Thanks.
05.24.2013 | Unregistered Commentergov. lepetomane
#chris from de

Excuse my ignorance... you are rferring to looking at Google Earth, correct? Is the course to be played the east or the west? Tiny space for both.
05.24.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
I especially like the telephone pole that appears to be about five feet from the fairway in this setup. We had a similar design feature on the nine hole muni I grew up on.
05.24.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjcallender
are those trees over the fairway bunkers catching layups blocking shots to the green? it looks like a loss of two shots if you miss your layup to the right
05.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDaphne
No Longer,

Course will be longer and narrower than for 2005 Am, which was admittedly a very tough set up. 18th won with bogey many times that week, I believe. But even with that set up, I saw 15 hit with what was reported by a spotter as 3 wood/lob wedge from the rough (JC Deacon, I believe). This won't be Oakmont and Winged Foot, but I don't think it will be Baltusrol, either. Unless it rains, in which case it may be a the Kemper Open.
05.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRES
The hole presented above is still a bombs away hole. If you hit the fairway you have a great chance at the green. Most of the guys who don't hit the fairway will be doing their best to bomb it down the left side from which they can make a fairly easy layup and still have a solid chance at birdie. If they'd open up the left side of the fairway I don't think the hole would be substantially easier because from the left side of the fairway the players would have a less than ideal angle into that green and they'd still have to clear the bunker short of the green, hold the green, and avoid what are likely fairly penal greenside bunkers and long rough around the green. We've seen time and time again how much even the best players can end up with a 5 or 6 from a position in which they are thinking 3 or 4. Plus as a viewer it would be nice to see a hole where you've got the potential for a player to take control of the tournament early in the final round with a 3 on 2, and then see if they can hold on the rest of the round.

I think I basically explained why the Masters is no less respected despite having winning scores regularly close to 10 under par. It's better TV too.
05.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKRoper
MGM, I'm actually one of the few who hope for a debacle like what happened at Shinnecock. When you mess around with Mother Nature and go to the edge of extreme, eventually something bad happens. It may be the only way the guy will get a grip on himself. I think last year on the last par 5 that Davis manipulated by pushing the tee up 100 yards is an example of this guy's ego in thinking he knows what is best, regardless of what the architect had in mind. And speaking of the members just going along with this guy, the same thing is going on at Pinehurst. Toured it recently and just cannot believe the membership and owners allow this guy to come in, stick his chest out and say: 'hey, let's change one of Donald Ross's greatest par 4's into a par 5'. You cannot believe how far back he pushed that tee on the fifth hole. A good source told me that before Davis came in that was a "prime" building lot behind the old fifth tee. Davis said he needed it for a new back tee and bingo, no longer a building lot.
05.24.2013 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv
RES, who is your fave Kemper winner? Mine is Dr. Gil Morgan.
05.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMGM
Well, I'm not liking what I'm seeing so far. It's such a shame, because it's a great course. On both of the flyovers, it looks like the cut the rough a bit too short right down the middle of the hole...
05.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDsl
I think David Moriarty and Tom Mac Wodds IMHO on did find that Meeks was involved in the original design at Merion but Wayne Morrison and TEPaul couldn't find ships manifest that supported the they went the next best route and hired Fazio.
05.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterFarouck
MGM- Favorite Kemper winner Doug Sanders '72 in Charlotte, great stories including the day after qualifier for the US Open - he shot something like 65-66 on little or no sleep in full celebration mode- chipped in one time, fell to the ground laughing so hard that spectators thought he might not or could not get back up.

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