Thanks to reader ken-one-putt for catching this on Torrey Pines in Brian Hewitt's recent notes column:
What people won’t readily see on television, but the players will learn, is the firmness Davis means to insure for June. “The greens typically run from 9 ½ to 10 ½ (on the Stimpmeter),” Davis said. “My guess is we’ll be closer to 13. That’s a speed those greens have never been at before.”
For the Buick Invitational, Torrey Pines South will play 7,568 yards to a par of 72. That yardage will be roughly the same for the U.S. Open but the USGA has converted the par-5 sixth to a long par 4 which will make for an 18-hole par of 71.
“That hole had no sexiness as a par 5,” Davis said of No. 6.
The 18th hole, a relatively short par 5, will remain a par 5 despite a lively debate among USGA officials. Course architect Rees Jones, who did the re-design at Torrey Pines, wanted No. 18 converted to a par 4. Davis wanted a par 5 so he could manipulate the tee box lengths on a daily basis to account for weather conditions and challenge the medium-to-long hitters to go for the green in two all four days.
And this was very interesting because A) I wonder how many times he fell asleep watching and (B) his statement about the first cut being too severe is so refreshing from a USGA official:
One of the things Davis did during the holidays was break out the tapes and watch every minute of all four days of the television broadcasts of last year’s U.S. Open at Oakmont.
“One thing I just don’t think we got right was the first cut of the primary rough,” he said. “It was just too penal.”
That will change at Torrey Pines. The winning score at each of the last two U.S. Opens was 5 over par. Davis told me he has no problem if 10 under is the winning score in June.
Oh but Rees will!