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Davis: Windy forecast forces a few setup 'audibles'

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SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – A daunting first-round forecast has already caused USGA setup man Mike Davis to alter his strategy.

Players could face wind gusts up to 30 mph during the opening round here at the U.S. Open.

“I can’t remember going around making so many audibles from the original game plan,” Davis said Wednesday at Shinnecock Hills.

The strong winds are the biggest factor, but Davis said that he needs to be particularly “mindful” of some hole locations and tee markers based on the changing conditions.

Davis viewed the few rain showers Wednesday as a “positive,” because it’ll help “calm the course down and get consistency and firmness” throughout the American-style links.

With plentiful sunshine, moderate temperatures and a steady breeze during the competition days, the USGA purposefully slowed down the greens for the final practice round. They also switched some of the hole locations they had planned for the tournament, trying to ensure that they’re in areas that can handle the increased wind.  

One of the holes they’ve had to take a closer look at: The 491-yard sixth. With a blind tee shot, players are required to carry their drives about 250 yards to reach the fairway. That’s merely a long iron for much of the field, but if a three-club wind turns into the players, suddenly that becomes a tall task.

“If the wind blows really hard, which could happen, it doesn’t matter how you set the course up and the speeds,” Davis said. “You get to the point where it’s like a lightning storm – you just can’t play golf. Hopefully we won’t get to that point, but we’re doing everything we can to be cognizant of it.”