Third U.S. Open Question: Furyk And The Surprise Of 16 Tee

Some fascinating comments from Jim Furyk about his surprise at playing 16 tee from the 575 yard plate (Mike O'Malley has the short version of the tournament turning point in this GW Daily item).

Even though Mike Davis has been open about this possibility and course setup spontaneity, and even though the tee is right next to the 10th green, Furyk still sounded a bit peeved by the move. Which is why I love when Davis does this. Some view it as contrived because a human being is doing it instead of a surprise wind shift orchestrated by Mother Nature.

Q.  16th hole.  Tell us everything from the tee box on.

    JIM FURYK:  The tee was a hundred yards up.  So I'll be quite honest, it was 99 yards up from the back of the very back tee.  I know the USGA gives us a memo saying that they play from multiple tees, but there's no way to prepare for a hundred yards.  So there's no way that you're, I thought that they put the tee up like they did, maybe 65 yards up on Friday, but to get to a tee where the tee box is a hundred yards up and the fairway makes a complete L turn, I was unprepared and didn't know exactly where to hit the ball off the tee.  And I took a little bit more of an aggressive route with that 3‑wood.

    In hindsight, I like the way Graeme played the hole.  He played it 2‑iron, 2‑iron, and sand wedge.  And I don't know what to say, other than there's no way anyone else in the field was prepared for the tee to be that far up.  I just didn't handle it very well.  And I'm not sure I hit the wrong club off the tee, but probably hit the wrong shot off the tee.  And that probably as much as anything forced me to make a poor swing.

    Q.  How unsettling is that to get up on the tee box and really not have a clear picture of thousand manage that hole?

    JIM FURYK:  It's awkward.  That happens, that's happened quite a bit in the setups here in the last six and seven years and I want to be clear, I really like the way Mike sets the golf course up, I think he's done a great job.  But there's always one round where, towards that late in the day, where you grab a hole and it's much different than you would expect it.  And there's no way when we play our practice rounds you're going to hit a shot from a tee a hundred yards up unless someone tells you.

    But the rest of the field had that same shot to hit today and I'm pretty sure no one hit as shitty a shot as I did, so.  I did the best, the worst job of handling it and I have no one to blame but myself.  I should have hit a different shot off the tee and if anything you need to miss that fairway to the right to never to the left.  So it makes mine twice as bad.

But is there anything wrong with moving a tee so far forward on the final day of the U.S. Open? Especially when there's been a suggestion the hole will be moved forward and the tee is visible from a hole played prior to it? Is that enough of a leading question?

Sean Martin wrote about No. 16 and points out something lost in the tee placement: Sunday's "sucker" hole location and explains why certain players like John Peterson played to the center of the green.