I got out for a bit to throw golf balls around, check out the rough and assess it for Golfweek.
The course is in a great spot heading to the event and more than able to handle the surprising heat we’ve experienced Sunday and Monday.
Last year’s U.S. Amateur winner, Viktor Hovland, visited the media center and compared the setup to last summer’s event he won over Devon Bling.
VIKTOR HOVLAND: Yeah, definitely generally the rough is a lot thicker than it was last year, and a lot of the fairways are narrower. So, for example, on 4, the fairway is right of that bunker; that used to be in the middle of the fairway. And, for example, on 11, that one is basically cut in half. And there's one other one. For example, 8 is moved all the way over on the right side, where you used to have the world to the left.
But as of right now, the greens are pretty soft and on the slower side. At the Am they were fairly firm and fast. But I'm assuming they're going to become that way later in the week. So not too worried about that.
Q. More along those lines, how about things like the rough, and also can you take anything from that experience and bring it into this, or does this feel like a completely different world?
VIKTOR HOVLAND: I mean, a lot of things are different. Obviously the atmosphere and the tournament is different. But it's still the same course and you still have somewhat of the same lines off of the tees. The greens still do the same way, they still break the same ways. And I think just a couple of things here and there. Oh, yeah, I missed it in the left bunker, but that wasn't too bad in, for example, that spot that you kind of learn.
Golf.com’s Pat Ralph talked to the USGA’s John Bodenhamer about the setup he’s overseeing this year. This sums up the changes since 2010:
Both 14 and 17 were really restored to more of what the architect originally intended for it to do. So those four greens 9, 13, 14 and 17, are different and we think that the restoration of those is a great improvement. A new teeing area that was added a few years ago on number nine adds about 21 yards for that par 4 when played from the very back. The only other thing, really, that’s different is that a little bit of the fairway on number 11 has been rerouted from the right-back to the left, where it originally was. And at 14, we had a runoff left of the green that’s no longer there which is all rough again. So it’s really going back to what the U.S. Open has always been at Pebble Beach.