SAN FRANCISCO – Phil Mickelson hates The Olympic Club’s par-5, 670-yard, 16th hole. Mike Davis loves it.
“It’s for sure the hardest hole on the course,” Mickelson said Tuesday to a gaggle of reporters. “And maybe the worst.
“I think great holes provide different strategy and different options. With the tee back on 16, it eliminates any options. There’s only one way to play it (with a driver).”
Davis, executive director of the U.S. Golf Association, was asked about Mickelson’s comments Wednesday during the association’s annual address with the media on the eve of the U.S. Open.
“I would respectfully disagree with that position,” Davis said. “I think what we were trying to do and I think we have succeeded, at least I hope so that we succeed on it, is that we really wanted to make a true three shot par-5.
“I know that par 5s are supposed to be when an expert player hits three shots and then the third is on the green and they two-putt and I know that there's a mentality that every par 5 ought to be reachable in two. But we wanted, for two days, to make it a true three-shotter, where if you miss one shot you might not be able to catch up on it.
“The other two days, and we did this at the U.S. Amateur a few years ago, we moved the tee markers up and it just changed the hole substantially, where all of a sudden now instead of just trying to hit a straight tee shot out you had to curve it around the corner or you had to lay back.”