Editor's note: The majors are always the most highly anticipated tournaments of the year. But which one will be the best? We asked our writers to present the cases for the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship.
The 115th U.S. Open is already a game-changing event and the first tee shot is still some five months away.
This year’s Open will be the first played in the Pacific Northwest, a geographic anomaly that defies explanation, but even that milestone isn’t why the year’s second major has all the markings of a seminal championship.
What separates June’s championship from others will be Chambers Bay, the publicly owned links-like layout that was designed to host the U.S. Open. Everything about the former sand and gravel quarry was built to be a major venue.
It’s the kind of blank canvas that a man such as Mike Davis, the USGA’s executive director, dreams about. It also explains Davis’ enthusiasm when he talks about Chambers Bay.
“This is a little bit of out-of-the-box thinking for the USGA,” said Davis last June. “The last time we truly came to a new golf course for the U.S. Open was Minneapolis in 1970 at Hazeltine. To say we are excited to come to Chambers Bay would be the understatement of the year.”
If the 2010 U.S. Amateur, which was played at Chambers Bay, is any indication of what players and fans should expect from the Robert Trent Jones-designed layout Davis’ excitement is understandable.
In the tune-up to this year’s U.S. Open Davis pushed the course to its limits in 2010 and, some suggested, perhaps beyond. If the new-look Pinehurst No. 2 set the standard as brown as the new green last year, expect a similarly dusty scene when the golf world arrives at University Place, Wash.
The 7,742-yard (nope, not a typo, that’s 7,742) course will give Davis and Co. endless setup options. Although par is expected to be 70 for the championship, that number will very much be relative considering the first and 18th holes will alternately be played as either a par 4 or par 5, depending on the day and conditions.
Of course, the players will provide the lion’s share of storylines as championship week inches closer, they always do. But until the field takes center stage for Round 1 on June 18 it will be the golf course that captures the imagination.