SAN FRANCISCO – At the 1998 U.S. Open played at The Olympic Club the opening hole ranked as the easiest for the week, while No. 17 was the hardest. That will change for this week’s championship and it has almost nothing to do with deeper rough or tightened fairways.
For this year’s championship officials have converted the first hole into a par 4, while the 17th will play as a par 5, the opposite of how the two played in 1998.
“It’s weird playing the two holes, one is a par 5 and one is a par 4, the same distance,” said Woods, pointing out the first is listed at 520 yards while the 17th is 522 yards.
It will also be an adjustment for players that Nos. 16 and 17 are back-to-back par 5s, a rarity in major championship golf. But most dismissed the changes as simple math rather than extreme makeovers.
“I see par as being relative,” said Matt Kuchar, who tied for 14th in ’98 at Olympic as an amateur. “They could say it’s a par 2 and it doesn’t really make a difference. We’re all just shooting for a number. Par is just a completely relative term.”