Normally when a U.S. Open comes to town less is more. More often than not the U.S. Golf Association reduces a layout’s overall par for the national championship but that is likely to change for this year’s event at Congressional Country Club.
“We’ve actually increased par from par 70 to a par 71,” said Mike Davis, the USGA’s senior director of rules and competitions.
Congressional played as a 7,255-yard par-70 for the AT&T National event in 2007, ’08 and ’09 and was a par 70 (7,213 yards) the last time the U.S. Open was played there in 1997.
The added stroke will come at the sixth hole, which played as a 518-yard par 4 in 2009 during the AT&T National with a 4.28 stroke average which ranked among the Tour’s 50 toughest holes that season.
“The sixth hole was a par 4 and now we’re going to make it a short risk/reward par 5 (somewhere around 530-570 yards). It’s kind of like 18 at Torrey Pines,” Davis said. “I looked at it and thought this is just not a good par 4. It would be an overly hard, somewhat boring par 4. . . . We’re going to keep forcing the issue until a large portion of the field can go for it.”
Also new for this year’s championship will be nine new teeing grounds, but it doesn’t appear likely Davis will be able to work in a drivable par 4 which has become something of a hallmark for his championship setups. “There aren’t too many opportunities for that really neat short par 4 at Congressional,” he said.