Unique greens key to US Open

If there wasn’t a flag, you would be hard pressed to find the greens at this week’s US Open venue Chambers Bay.

Yet it is in the level of acceptance of these unique and crazy surfaces that the Australian contingent tilt concedes the major championship will be won or lost.

The youngest course to host a US Open in 45 years – it opened in 2007 – Chambers Bay is as far from the typical United States Golf Association (USGA) venue as you could imagine.

It has a links feel, with wispy fescue or rugged bunkers ready for a wayward tee shot, hard and fast fairways and greens, and more elevation changes than any US Open past.

The greens, really just extensions of the fairways marked with painted white dots to denote where you can and can’t mark your ball, have already given players fits in early practice.

They have multiple slopes and bowls, creating some bizarre shots with players forced to aim well away from pins and bring plenty of creativity.

Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel echoed thoughts of some with a scathing account.

“You play a golf course like Muirfield Village (in Ohio) and you’ve got the most perfect putting surfaces you could ask for and then you come to the US Open and you’ve got surfaces that a good putt doesn’t really matter,” Schwartzel said.

“They roll so badly that a good putt misses and a bad one goes in.”

But for some of the Australian players, it is a welcome change, and they refuse to yield before a putt is struck.

Geoff Ogilvy, the last Australian to win the US Open in 2006, believes the players who accept the challenge will have a better chance of being in the mix.

Marc Leishman accepts the fact a good shot can get close, but a bad miss could end up 100 metres away after it takes all of the slopes.

He’s ready to allow for 10 to 15 bogeys in the Open on this track.

Jason Day says more than ever it will be about not beating himself – which Schwartzel and co may have already done.

“I think they are great, they are fun,” said Ogilvy.

“If you came out here with your buddies with no score in mind you’d have the time of your life because there are so many shots out here to try.

“It’s so different and so extreme from what we usually play that it could be easy to write yourself off before we start.

“My plan this week is to constantly remind myself I love this sort of golf.

“As extreme as it is, every hole has a place to get it up and down from with a bank shot. If you position yourself in the right place you will always have a chance. If you do it wrong you will have no chance.

“That from an architectural perspective is perfect.”

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