ARDMORE, Pa. — It’s quite the ride from the driving range to the first tee at Merion, and that’s going to take some getting used to this week at the U.S. Open.
“That’s an interesting challenge,” said Matt Kuchar, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour this year. “I think that there’s a number of people who like to go straight off the driving range, hitting that last tee ball and trying to envision them being on the first tee and replicating that same tee shot.”
A 12-passenger van will shuttle the players, and Kuchar said the elapsed time from final practice swing to first competitive swing could be some 20 to 30 minutes.
“I think the guys that have to rely less on timing in their golf swing will certainly fare better on the opening tee ball and first couple of holes,” Kuchar said. “The guys that are more relying on timing and have to come straight from the range quickly to the first tee to kind of be fresh and ready to go may struggle a little more.”
Green Speeds: USGA executive director Mike Davis says in good weather, the speed of the greens will be up to 13.5 on the Stimpmeter at the U.S. Open.
At least on 17 greens.
The fifth green at Merion is the toughest on the golf course, canting severely to the left. If that green were the same speed as the others, it would be difficult for balls to stay on the putting surface. That green will be running around 12 on the Stimpmeter.
“Players have been notified of that,” Davis said. “We’ve done this exact same thing in past championships here, and it works for that.”