As players begin to get to grips with the shape, if not the likely severity, of Congressional’s layout this week, the AP’s Doug Ferguson has busied himself canvassing player opinion. Whereas the like of Lee Westwood and KJ Choi are very much focused on the more challenging aspects of the course, Hunter Mahan claims to see a record score or two just waiting to be made.
“At this point, [shooting 62] seems possible.
“Some U.S. Opens you get to, there’s no hope… But here, you’ve got three par 5s … I think there’s a lot of birdie holes. Now, you’re going to have to play unbelievably. Usually, it’s not possible at all. But you could see a really good round out here.”
Mahan’s suggestion might be an example of a sportsperson’s capacity for positive thinking outpacing their grasp on reality, he’s not the only player seeing in Congressional the hallmarks of a particularly solid US Open set-up. The pre-tournament favourite, Lee Westwood, has also been impressed.
“The toughness of a U.S. Open setup takes you by surprise when you’ve never played it before. And I really don’t remember a lot from ’97, other than it was quite wet. There wasn’t a lot of run of [sic] the fairways, and it played quite long…
“I finished 19th, so I was quite pleased with that. First effort at a U.S. Open.
“There’s no tricks [sic] to this golf course… You could almost turn up Thursday and just play it because it’s such a good, honest test.”
My curiosity is certainly building ahead of Thursday’s big reveal.