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Chambers Bay back in USGA rotation; Open may remain elusive

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. (AP) — After teaming along with his taking part in associate to shoot 67 on a cloudy afternoon, Joe Greiner praised the golf course he spent 5 hours traversing. He beloved the setting, beloved the variability and was particularly complimentary of the greens.

Considering his on a regular basis job includes mountain climbing round a number of the most interesting golf programs, Greiner is aware of what elements make a high quality setup for one of the best golfers in the world.

“The views are great. Greens were good. It was awesome,” mentioned Greiner, whose on a regular basis job is caddying for Max Homa on the PGA Tour.

Greiner was talking about Chambers Bay, the polarizing waterside golf course that hosted the 2015 U.S. Open. The structure is remembered as a lot for its baked, burned-out greens as for Jordan Spieth’s victory.

Chambers Bay returned to the United States Golf Association rotation this week, internet hosting the Amateur Four-Ball championship, some of the distinguished occasions on the course since Spieth raised the championship trophy on the 18th inexperienced six years in the past.

This time, golfers confronted a course with inexperienced fairways reducing by means of wispy dunes, and extra importantly flawless placing surfaces after the course changed its greens in 2018 from nice fescue grass to poa annua.

The improved circumstances of the course — greens particularly — and the continued reference to the USGA all the time results in the subsequent query: Could Chambers Bay get one other probability on the U.S. Open?

Greiner, who reached match play earlier than shedding in the spherical of 32, paused.

“I think it could come back here. With the greens like this it definitely could,” mentioned Greiner who used the yardage e-book of Spieth’s caddie Michael Greller from 2015. “It’s hard, though. I don’t know. I think it could.”

The 2015 U.S. Open was, in some ways, a smashing success. The first time the occasion was planted in the Pacific Northwest it drew large golf-hungry crowds. But U.S. Open programs usually teeter on the sting and a stretch of unseasonably heat and dry climate pushed Chambers Bay to its limits.

The fescue greens have been essentially the most evident difficulty and finally led to them being changed by extra manageable poa annua greens in 2018.

“The poa, it’s just a lush putting surface. You get down there on your hands and knees there’s a lot of blades per square inch on there,” Chambers Bay basic supervisor Zac Keener mentioned. “It’s got a nice uniform look. I think a lot of players, it’s kind of what they come to expect. I think that was a little bit of the shock in 2015.”

Brian Humphreys paired with Joe Neuheisel — son of former faculty soccer coach Rick Neuheisel — on the Amateur Four-Ball this week. He was amongst just a few in the sphere who had performed on the previous fescue greens in the course of the 2017 Pacific Coast Amateur.

“It definitely makes it different,” Humphreys mentioned. “I’d say the surfaces is not quite as linksy. It’s a little bit more receptive to shots. They can still get them firm and playing at like a championship level where it’s testing approach shots into the greens and stuff. But overall, it’s just more fair on putts.”

Clearly the USGA nonetheless sees Chambers Bay as a championship venue. It was introduced Monday because the host for the 2022 U.S. Women’s Amateur subsequent August. There proceed to be rumblings a couple of future U.S. Women’s Open, which at present isn’t scheduled past 2025 at Erin Hills, one other U.S. Open host that obtained combined opinions.

The Amateur Four-Ball appeared an ideal re-entry into the USGA rotation. It’s a relaxed occasion the place prime highschool and faculty stars can combine with middle-aged amateurs, all getting an opportunity to play for a championship. Families walked alongside the teams down the fairways, full with youngsters doing cartwheels.

Even names acquainted from different sports activities can find yourself being opponents, like former NFL working back Danny Woodhead, who turned his focus to golf after retiring in 2018.

“I remember just how hard they had it (in 2015). Like it was like, concrete back then, and obviously the greens were borderline concrete too and a little bumpy,” Woodhead mentioned. “But this is one of the coolest courses I’ve played, and I’ve been fortunate to play some really, really cool courses.”

There are nonetheless adjustments to be made to the performance of the golf course for followers ought to a serious occasion ever return. Bottlenecks and rolled ankles amongst spectators have been frequent points in 2015 and nonetheless want options.

Some of these adjustments should be carried out irrespective of. Some can be contingent on the U.S. Open ever returning, which contemplating the course was constructed particularly with internet hosting a number of championships in thoughts, will hold over the golf course till it occurs.

For now, it’s occasions just like the Amateur Four-Ball and the Women’s Amateur to fulfill the urge for food.

“I think they’re just excited to be able to come back be able to set this golf course in a way that can really for them demonstrate what can be done here,” Keener mentioned.


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