With the 110th US Open championship around the corner, and with 156 players reporting to the Pebble Beach Golf Links, preparations for the second Major championship of the year have been thorough and spectactular.
Four greens and 16 bunkers have been rebuilt, 11 tees enhanced, six holes have seen the addition of trees and the total length of the course has been extended to 7,040 yards. Along with this, approximately six miles of fencing will be installed around the grounds in time for the championship.
The one thing that cannot be completely accounted for is the weather. Previous US Open‘s have seen tremendous amounts of rain, including Bethpage State Park last year, when the course was unplayable resulting in the championship spilling over to Monday.
Yet it is not rain the players will be contending with this year, with only a quarter of an inch once in every five to 10 years, it is the wind at Pebble Beach that is the biggest natural element to face.
The scores from the 1972 or 1992 US Opens prove just that. Players produced two of the highest final-round scoring averages in modern US Open history, 78.8 and 77.3.
Mike Davis, the USGA’s senior director of rules and competitions, commented: “If it’s exceptionally windy for four days, you might see 10 or 15 over par win versus 15-under-par if there is no wind. Literally, the wind makes that much of a difference here at Pebble.”
Davis added: “The tricky part is getting the proper forecast in order to set up a stern but fair challenge for the players.”
Davis and Thomas O’Toole Jr are preparing by studying an anemometer instead of a radar screen. They also have the help of an on-site meteorologist enabling accurate forecasts, ultimately determining locations for tee markers and holes.