Thursday the greatest golfers in the world will tee it up in the Pacific Northwest for the very first time in U.S Open history at Chambers Bay.
The Robert Trent Jones 7,600 yard course will host the 115th U.S. Open in University Park, Washington. The venue will be just fifty yards short of the longest U.S. Open course ever played. Torrey Pines holds the distinction of being the longest in 2008.
What Chambers Bay will have over Torrey Pines, however, are the three longest par 4s and four of the five longest in US Open history. CBS Sports posted the yardage of the top five longest holes:
14th at Chambers Bay (2015): 546 yards
11th at Chambers Bay (2015): 537 yards
13th at Chambers Bay (2015): 534 yards
16th at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club (2014): 528 yards
18th at Chambers Bay (2015): 525 yards
Handicap golfers may be astounded by the length of the par 4s, but for PGA Tour players aided by advanced equipment technology, distance shouldn’t be a factor. With mild weather conditions forecasted and dry downhill fairways, it won’t be uncommon to see drives roll out to 350 yards or more. Approach shots shouldn’t warrant much more than a six or seven iron even for your medium powered pros off the tee.
The key for golfers won’t be the length, but hitting the ball straight, course management, negotiating the firm greens, and as with all Major championships controlling emotions.
Chambers Bay, etched out of an old gravel pit, only opened to the public in 2007. Because of the deep fescue and slopes along the fairways, golfers will often need to hit the ball far away from where they want it to land.
Morgan Hoffman, who played Chambers Bay at the 2010 U.S. Amateur, told Fox Sports, “Oh, it will be exciting, absolutely. There’s going to be shots you see on TV that they’re going to replay and you’re going to say, ‘How did that happen?’ Because you can’t see anywhere near what the slopes are.”
Significantly, unlike Hoffman most of the field does not know this course—only 11 in the field have competed at Chambers Bay— and spent Tuesday and Wednesday learning it. This predicament forces competitors to spend less time working on their swing and more time on figuring where to hit the ball. Tiger Woods took an early trip two week ago to start plotting out course strategy.
Some of the featured pairings on Thursday and Friday:
In search of his 15th Major Championship, Tiger Woods will play with 2015 Players champion Rickie Fowler and Louis Oosthuizen, winner of the 2010 British Open. They’ll tee off late on Thursday, at 5:28 p.m. (EST)
The World’s No. 1 ranked Rory McIlroy, favored at 7-1 to win—even though he has missed his last two cuts on the European tour—will play alongside 2014 U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer and 2014 U.S. Amateur champion, 21-year-old Gunn Yang. Tee-off time comes at 11:28 a.m. Thursday
Phil Mickelson will begin his 2015 U.S. Open in a group with Bubba Watson and 2007 U.S. Open champ Angel Cabrera. It will be his second attempt to claim the career grand slam after winning the 2013 British Open.
Masters champion and second favorite to win at 8-1 odds, Jordan Spieth, will play with 2013 U.S. Open champion Justin Rose and World No. 10 Jason Day.
All tee times are listed here.