USGA not hiding the hoses for US Women’s Open
Normally, the USGA hides the water hoses located near all greens
during any U.S. Open to keep them firm, fast and, to some golfers,
The 90-degree heat that’s enveloped Oakmont Country Club this
week, and is forecast to continue through Thursday during the U.S.
Women’s Open, means water is necessary to prevent the delicate
greens from going brown.
Mike Davis of the USGA said firmness readings are being taken
three times a day on nine quadrants on every green. When water is
needed, it’s being applied. Even if American golf’s governing body
believes the greens are perfect as they are.
“If we see balls starting to hit those greens (on Thursday),
well-struck balls, and literally bouncing in the front third and
bouncing the whole way over, we’d say, ‘Wait a minute,’ “ Davis
said Wednesday. “We need more water on those greens. We’re happy
with the way the course is playing and if the scores are higher or
lower than we thought, we’re not going to change things.”
Currently, the greens are running in the high 13s and low 14s on
the speed-gauging Stimpmeter, or slightly lower than the high 14s
and low 15s of the men’s 2007 U.S. Open. Depending on pin
placement, some greens slope away from the golfer, which has caused
some practice-round putts to skitter off the greens entirely.
“The greens are very difficult, the undulation as well as the
speed,” former world No. 1-ranked Ai Miyazato said. “Those two
combinations I’ve never really experienced before. … My
imagination and putting here really didn’t match. They broke way
more than I imagined.”
MIYAZATO’S MOMENTUM: Until Cristie Kerr’s commanding 12-shot
victory in the LPGA Championship, no women’s golfer had been better
this year than four-time winner Miyazato. She leads the LPGA money
winners and was atop the world golf rankings until being overtaken
Miyazato tied for third in the LPGA Championship, finishing up
with a 66. She won the ShopRite Classic the week before the LPGA
Miyazato’s biggest challenge is focusing on making par on many
holes, rather than thinking birdie as she does in most
“I think I need to change my mind,” she said. “I’m not going
to make birdies like every hole. It’s just trying to make par – or
CREAMER’S DISCOMFORT: Paula Creamer, a 10-time LPGA Tour winner
at age 23 who finished sixth in the past two U.S. Women’s Opens, is
experiencing a challenging year. She recently underwent surgery to
repair a torn thumb ligament, an injury that commonly requires
months of healing.
To compensate, Creamer is hitting many of her practice range
shots off tees to avoid the discomfort that occurs when her clubs
strike the ground. It’s a difficult way to prepare for the toughest
tournament in women’s golf.
“The hard part is when you play, you can’t practice as much,”
she said. “When I practice, I can’t play as much. So I have to
give a little, take a little back. It’s been very difficult, very
frustrating. When you feel good but you can’t do what you do, it’s
Creamer has played in four events this year, making the top 10
in two with one seventh-place finish.
SWINGING FOR CHANGE: Eun-Hee Ji of South Korea overtook Kerr to
win last year’s U.S. Women’s Open at Saucon Valley, then set out
later in the year to configure her swing and her game. The idea was
to get more distance and better control of her shots, but the
results have been disappointing.
Ji hasn’t finished higher than 17th in her 10 tournaments this
year, and she placed 51st or worse three times.
“I changed my swing a lot,” she said. “The first couple of
tournaments I play really bad, but I’m getting better right now.
This tournament (after) last year, I have more confidence I can
play really good.”
Ji was among those affected by the heat, which forced her to
shave considerable time off each day’s preparation to make sure she
didn’t become too fatigued.
WIE’S BUNKER MENTALITY: Michelle Wie is getting her first look
at Oakmont’s famed Church Pew bunkers, the course’s signature and
most sinister feature. The 102-yard-long bunker between the No. 3
and 4 fairways is 42 yards across and, depending on the lie, can
take multiple shots to exit for the unlucky golfer who finds
herself knee-deep in them.
The church pews got their names from the grass strips that run
across the bunker.
“Whoever thought of – the designer who thought of putting them
in – it’s a pretty smart idea,” Wie said. “It’s pretty
intimidating when you’re looking at it and you see the lines and
it’s not just a couple of bunkers, it’s all one big bunker. It
brings a unique characteristic to the course and, hopefully, I
could just look at them and not be in them all week.”
That’s Wie’s advice to any golfer who takes on Oakmont: stay out
of the 210 bunkers.
“It definitely has a British Open feel to it where you don’t
want to be in the bunkers,” she said.