Who Will Win The U.S.Open at Merion?


The U.S. Open is back at Merion, which many said was obsolete as a championship course and too short for an Open because of advances in equipment. Because it is so short, who do you think will win this year?
Thanks for your stuff Frank, it is great.
Freddie One-Putt

Thanks for your comments and question and I hope you continue to one-putt.

Regarding your question about who will win the U.S. Open at Merion this year:

First , we need to know that the ‘Laws of Nature’ are such that the ball and club by themselves and in particularly acting together are not going to produce any more significant increases in driving distance. We have reached a plateau as evidenced by the average driving distance on the PGA Tour – in the last six years we have gained only 2.5 feet, YES only 30-inches, in spite of the claims about new drivers and how manufacturers can do what Mother Nature cannot.

We also need to recognize that ‘Human Nature’ is such that we will forever seek more distance and reluctantly, if ever, give up the distance we have now gained – as little as it might be – through advanced technology.

As long as the greens don’t get “gimmicky fast” for the undulations, the winner will be The Game of Golf.

This will at last prove that we don’t have to cater to the long hitters and demonstrate that the skill required to compete in golf is more than the ability to drive the ball a long way. We have to date evolved into a mindset that believes that the driver is sacrosanct and should be used on every hole including the short Par-4s – now designed to increase entertainment value and excitement.

The sooner we recognize that shorter and strategic, not longer and boring is the future of golf course setup the better off the game will be and this will lead it to healthy rehabilitation.

We see this urge for longer and longer setup in women’s championship golf as well, driven by the fact that a few girls are now able to hit the ball up to 300 yards and 280 on average off the tee.

In a study of clubs hit by good women golfers at a qualifying site for the Women’s Open we see that, if the PGA Tour men had to use the same clubs – i.e. Driver, 3W or 5W on par 4s; and Driver, 3W, Hybrid on Par 5s the course would have to be in excess of 8,300 yards for men. In such instances, shortening the ball will make no difference as it is all relative.

This is absurd and comes from the mindset that the course will be too easy if it does not challenge the long hitters. All we do is cater to the long hitters at the expense of those who have all the skills required to compete.

Shortening the course and changing the course setup will not only allow golfers to exhibit their skills but deemphasize the singular ability to hit the ball a long way.

WELL DONE to the USGA – and Mike Davis — for having the guts to show that all is not lost regarding the distance debate and we can have a great U.S. Open on a shorter course.

If this turns out the way I predict, we will crown a great champion who has exhibited all the skills required to be a U.S. Open winner and embrace the trophy.

Thanks to some common sense at last and the life-ring the game needs.


Please let us know how you feel about the U.S.Open being held on a shorter course by replying below.


7 thoughts on “Who Will Win The U.S.Open at Merion?

  1. Frank has made a spot on prediction of scoring at Merion. However, uphill 260 yard par threes and 510 yard par fours don’t fit the short description. I wonder how many modern courses would be equally challenging with 25 yard wide fairways, wet 6 inch rough, tough pin positions and greens that roll 13 on the Stimpmeter. Also notable was the heavy rough closely surrounding the greens. When Mickelson failed to get a greenside chip close to the hole on 18 with lots of green to work with, it made me realize that this 7 handicap would be hard pressed to break 90.

  2. I just came home from Friday’s round. Needless to say you all know that Merion is the winner this week. My congratulations to the USGA for such an outstanding venue.
    I, for one, enjoy a course beating up the pros. It’s fun to watch.

    Luke Donald with his skills should win.

  3. We just wanted to share an emailed comment from one of our Frankly Friends:

    Very Good ! AND….the “pace-of-play” initiative has been brought to the fore-front, which is nice to see ! Keep up the good work…!

  4. you know, Tiger is no longer the long hitter he used to be, and he has been more successful going 3-wood or 5-wood off the tee than he has been with driver. Hank Haney (whether you agree with him or not) has said Tiger is a bit afraid of his driver, and in addition has had driver miscues accentuated because of his desire to play a high spinning ball for the short game (more ooohs and ahhhs from the crowd when the ball backs up?)

    I think Merion will be an ideal place for him to play, expecially with his mastery of middle iron distances, and he is my pick for winner.

  5. I couldn’t agree with you more. The issue has always been course set up not length. The issue wasn’t the ability to hack the ball out of long rough with square grooves but that the course was set up to allow for such things in fact to make it a better startegy to bomb away and live with the rough rather than lay up and consider angles and such.

    I’m one who thinks that Merion will hold up nicely this weekend.

  6. As always, Frank, thanks for your thoughts. I’m excited to see the Open return to Merion, not only for the history of the venue but also because, despite some lenghtening of the course, it remains a relatively short course. I’m looking forward to the next four days.

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