UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – Tiger Woods expects plenty of odd caroms and unpredictable bounces at U.S. Open host Chambers Bay. Amid the variables, though, he feels the fate of the tournament could rest in the hands of one man: Mike Davis.
Davis, the USGA’s executive director, is the face of the organization when it comes to setting up courses for is biggest championship. He has more setup options at his disposal this week than normal, and Woods believes the choices Davis and his crew make will heavily influence how the event plays out.
“We don’t know – none of us, none of you guys in this room, none of the players – know what Mike is going to do on the setup,” Woods said. “We don’t know what Mike is going to do on the different winds, and the different days. So yeah, we could say that the long hitters have an advantage, but maybe not. Depends on what Mike does.”
Davis has already said that this tournament will have a few unique setup traits, namely the interchangeable pars between Nos. 1 and 18. Woods played the course at its maximum yardage when he made his scouting trip two weeks ago, but that length could be significantly trimmed for each competitive round.
“I think we’re going to see some higher numbers here, but then again we may not. It depends on what Mike gives us,” Woods said. “Let’s say he plays it hard every day and plays it all the way back, close to 7,900 yards. If he makes it 73 (hundred yards), 74, 75, somewhere in that neighborhood, what configuration is he going to do it in? We don’t know.”
Among the quirks that have caught Woods’ eye thus far are the sprinkler heads that line many of the greens at Chambers Bay. With the fescue grass tightly mown around the greens, the sprinklers are used to delineate the edges of the actual putting surfaces, and Woods believes they could come into play during the tournament.
“I’m more curious to see how many guys hit sprinklers this week, because the sprinklers are literally sometimes six inches off the green,” he said. “Some of the hole locations, if you fire at it, you’re flying right over the top of sprinklers to land it. It will be interesting to see how many guys hit it.”