SAN FRANCISCO – Just a hunch, but GTC doesn’t expect Phil Mickelson to make a play at the flag on the par-3 13th hole in Thursday’s opening round of the U.S. Open.
On Tuesday, Lefty called the 13th The Olympic Club’s “most difficult,” pointing out if you miss the green long and left you will struggle to recover.
“If you miss it right, you've got a chip that's downhill, downwind, you're not going to get it up and down. And if you miss it left, it's off to Hartford (Conn.),” said Mickelson, referring to next week’s Travelers Championship. “You may as well pack your bags, and we'll see you next week at Hartford because that ball is going to go down the creek, in the rough, under the trees, and you may still be there on Monday.”
Thursday’s hole location on No. 13 is in the back left portion of the green, just three paces from the left edge of the green, which leaves little room for error or birdies.
Players will also be challenged with a back-right hole location on the par-5 17th, which will leave little room for those going for the green in two shots. Anything that misses the green right runs down a steep hill and could leave players with a difficult chip or an impossible lie against a tree.
The first break for players who tee off on No. 1 will be the drivable par-4 seventh hole. On Wednesday, Alvaro Quiros made an ace on the hole. For Round 1 officials have effectively shortened the hole with a front-right location that is three paces from the edge of the green.
“Anything left of that green is dead. You can miss right anywhere, in the bunker, in the rough, whatever, and get up and down (for birdie),” said one caddie early Thursday. “But left is dead.”