Don't mow the fescue, pleads McIlroy

Beth Cruz
June 15, 2017

Umm, if you say so.

Jason Day has embraced the challenge of the US Open at Erin Hills this week, despite some negativity coming out of parts of the field of 156 players.

It was a major gaffe, saved only by Johnson playing so well that he had a four-shot lead when he birdied the final hole to win the U.S. Open.

In his press conference, Adam Scott noted that while the fescue is punishing, the fairways are wide enough to give players plenty of space on almost every hole.

"Really?" Rory McIlroy said.

"We have 60 yards from left line to right line".

"We have a wide enough area to hit it and you need to drive the ball well in order to win a U.S. Open", he said. It's supposed to test every club in the bag. "It's always a physical test". In that department, Erin Hills' closing par-5 18th fits that bill to perfection. If you do miss a green, it's not that you are going to be chipping out of the thick rough. Even the first and second cut is another 10 yards on top of that. "I think what they were afraid of was guys losing too many balls, and them having to go back (to the tee). I worked hard to get here".

If Spieth sounds like a man who has played Erin Hills in the heat of competition, he has.


Speaking of the greens, McIlroy will enter the tournament with a new flat stick in his bag. Still, it won't be the death sentence Na made it out to be in his video. Indeed, this week's tourney will be just the sixth of the year on the PGA Tour for McIlroy, who had to withdraw from last month's BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour with that second rib injury. "I've had it to where I needed to hit gap wedge out about 100 yards into the fairway and I've also hit a 7-iron on the green out of it".

"It's just a matter of me hitting a lot of balls and that repetitive stress and strain [on the ribs]", McIlroy said. "But if you play well, which is obviously what this championship is trying to identify, it's a very, very fine and playable golf course". At the 1974 U.S. Open it proved so brutal that Hale Irwin won with a seven-over-par score inspiring a book entitled "Massacre at Winged Foot".

"He did the USGA and the U.S. Open a great service by drawing attention to the severity of what we got this week", Azinger said.

Asked about the potential for a Scottish victor on Sunday, Knox, who will be in the same group as Laird over the first two days, said: "Well, there's three of us playing so that's obviously good. He might take a plane and get here in time, so you never know". Neither, of course, are prevalent on the PGA Tour, where the ability to hit the same shot time after time after time tends to be rewarded more than any combination of creativeness and imagination. The Northern Irishman had already praised the layout and setup ahead of the championship, but several players have raised attention of the long grass that frames the wide fairways of the striking Wisconsin course.

"I went out there and hung with the marshals". I wasn't crying when I saw that rain (Monday) night and (Tuesday) morning.

Lee Westwood took one look at the course and declared: "It's a jungle out there".

In its original inception, Erin Hills had a "bye hole", which is an extra hole used to settle bets or get the golfer from one hole to the next if the routing doesn't oblige.

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