Thursday at 6:45 am, local time, the 117th US Open will be en route with a record prize-money of $ 12’000’000. Read the quotes from three European candidates.
Sergio Garcia (2017 Masters Champion)
These last weeks have been fun. Obviously it’s been very overwhelming and very busy. But it’s been a great experience to be able to call myself Masters Champion, something like a dream come true and something that I’m extremely proud of. But this title is not going to give me any advantage when we get on the first tee. You still have to focus hard and trust yourself, believe in your ability, commit to your shots and your thoughts and then hopefully have another good week here. Every tournament is tough to win and majors are even tougher. And these U.S. Opens we all know how difficult they are. I’m sure it’s going to be a great challenge again, like it is every year. Here my first rule will be patience and commitment.
The course is kind of linksy. I’m excited to get out there again and take a good look at it, get a feel for it and see how it plays. So we’ll see if I’ll be able to get some good vibes and have a great week. Some weeks you feel a bit calmer than others and your patience is better. Hopefully it will be one of those where I feel calm and collected and my patience level is way, way high. When it comes down to commitment it’s just a matter of believing.
Justin Rose (2015 US Open, 2016 Olympic Champion)
I took the opportunity to come up last week, played the course on Thursday and Friday, which I really enjoyed. Had perfect weather. It was a little cooler than it has been the last couple of days, so I really enjoyed my time out on the golf course. I felt very spoiled to have the course to myself, I have to say. I came away with a very good impression. Obviously, I’ve seen guys talking about the rough and the hay and this and that, and of course, it’s a huge penalty if you miss big this week. But if you play well, which is obviously what this championship is trying to identify, it’s a very fine and playable golf course.
This being said I probably do prefer the more traditional ones just because there is a lot of history involved in them. I do commend the USGA for trying to promote the game in certain ways and areas of the country to try to grow the game. I definitely see the big picture of why new venues are important. At the new Chambers Bay maybe it didn’t turn out quite the way everyone had hoped conditioning-wise, but the champion was stellar. I think when you see Jordan Spieth’s name on the U.S. Open trophy, that’s probably an outcome that everyone may have hoped for, except me and the other players in the field, but the USGA certainly.
Rory McIlroy (2011 US Open)
I got in Friday afternoon, walked a few holes on Friday evening. And I got two really good looks at it on Saturday and Sunday. One of the course architects, Dana Fry walked around the course with us, as well, which I thought was really beneficial. From what I’ve seen so far, it’s really good. It lets players be aggressive, I feel like. You can be aggressive off the tee. If you are in full control, you can be aggressive with your approach shots. If you do miss a green, it’s not that you’re going to be chipping out of the thick rough. It goes in these collection areas and runoffs. It’s a little bit of a different challenge than what we faced in U.S. Opens in the past. It’s going to be a huge success.
The good news, there’re no limitations on my swing whatsoever. Preparation-wise, instead of hitting five bags of balls, I’ll hit two. It’s not as if I can’t hit balls, it’s just a matter of managing how many repetitions I put through it. I mean not really many limitations. Obviously I haven’t had many tournament rounds under my belt. But at the same time I’m coming in fresh to this part of the season. I think driving the golf ball is a big skill here. I feel like this golf course definitely test that. And you need to have driver in hands here if you want to take advantage of Erin Hills.
Some players are complaining. You’ve got 156 of the best in the world here facing the widest fairways we’ve ever played in a U.S. Open. If they can’t hit it within these avenues, they might as well pack their bags and go home. Even the first and second cut are another ten yards on top of that. So if you’ve got 50 or 60 yards to hit into and you’re complaining about the fescue that’s wider than that, I don’t think it’s a real issue.