(Editor's note: Cristie Kerr, the 2007 U.S. Women's Open champion, is filing a daily blog with GolfChannel.com, offering her views on watching the men at Pinehurst No. 2 as the women get ready to play it next week for the U.S. Women's Open.)
By CRISTIE KERR
It was strange tuning in Thursday to watch the U.S. Open on TV knowing we’re going to play the U.S. Women’s Open on the same Pinehurst No. 2 course next week. It was kind of fun, though, getting to see the different holes and the bounces we will be getting there, before we actually get there.
I’m at home with my family in New York this week, taking care of my son, Mason, and getting in some practice at Liberty National, but I’m watching what I can. I love that sandhills area, and I love Donald Ross courses. I won my U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles in 2007. It’s a Donald Ross course right around the corner from Pinehurst No. 2. I think I understand what he was trying to do with his golf courses. I get him, and I think that helps playing his courses.
About a month ago, I was at Pinehurst No. 2, getting in a couple practice rounds before we played the Kingsmill Championship. It’s surprising seeing the changes at Pinehurst in that short time. It’s a lot more brown now. I was expecting the fairways to be more uniformly green, but they’re burned out on the edges. I’m sure the conditions are great, but I didn’t expect to see that. The sandy waste areas also have changed. They’ve grown in more, with more of those native grasses coming up. I think missing fairways will come with more of a penalty for the women than the men. It’s definitely going to be more difficult for the women hitting shots out of there, because we don’t hit down on the ball with the same force as the men do. You need that club-head speed to get out of nasty lies.
People are making a big deal out of the fact there isn’t traditional rough at a U.S. Open, but the men were getting some nasty lies Thursday. From what I see, you can get incredibly lucky with a lie in those waste areas, or you can find yourself having to chop out. We’re just going to have to treat it like we would heavy rough. You don’t want to be in it.
I was a little surprised the greens were as receptive as they were, but I suspect they’re trying not to burn them up. You know the golf course is going to heat up. We’ll be watching to see how much.