Cronin on Erin Hills

Tim Cronin does some cross-platform leveraging for the USGA, pitting Erin Hills vs. Cog Hill in a battle of wannabe U.S. Open courses.

When the USGA finally brings the U.S. Open back to the Midwest -- it's booked elsewhere through 2013 -- Erin Hills, a spectacular new course in this sleepy rural hamlet 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee, has a remarkably good chance to get it.

How good? Mike Davis, who runs the Open for the USGA, has visited four times. On the grounds the first time after work had barely begun, he didn't return a second, third and fourth time to have a bratwurst.

Erin Hills is more than that good. Opened Aug. 1, it is instantly one of the great courses in the world.

Whoa Nellie. Deep breaths Tim.  

It is also a throwback, a course many will find too quirky, thinking too many of the hazards -- the earth rolling and heaving, leftovers of the last remnant of the Ice Age -- were either placed incorrectly or should have been bulldozed.

And lots of corporate tent space!