Jim Furyk hits a shot en route to a bogey at the 16th hole on Sunday.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
SAN FRANCISCO – The par-5 16th at The Olympic Club was reduced by 100 yards or so for Sunday’s final round of the U.S. Open.
Normally, that would be a good thing for players, as the hole went from a 670-yard behemoth – longest in U.S. Open history — that they couldn’t reach in two shots to a more manageable and more inviting 569 yards.
But it didn’t really play out that way. Because of the contours of the hole, players had to aggressively curve two shots right to left.
“16’s weird,” Tiger Woods said.
Even more alarming, not everybody was prepared for that drastic of a change, including its biggest victim on Sunday, Jim Furyk, who suffered bogey at the 16th and dropped out of a tie for the lead with eventual champion Webb Simpson when his tee shot snap-hooked into the trees.
“I know the USGA gives us a memo saying that they play from multiple tees, but there’s no way to prepare for a hundred yards,” Furyk said. “… To get to a tee where the tee box is hundred yards up and the fairway makes a complete L turn, I was unprepared and didn’t know exactly where to hit the ball. …
“I don’t know what to say other than there’s no way anyone else in the field was prepared for the tee to be that far up. I just didn’t handle it very well.”
Furyk used a 3-wood for his ill-fated drive at the 16th while playing partner Graeme McDowell used a 2-iron, then another 2-iron for his second shot, then a sand wedge for his third. Furyk said in hindsight, he liked McDowell’s strategy.
But even McDowell, who settled for par, seemed less than thrilled with the tee moved so far forward.
“16 is a real conundrum of a tee shot,” he said. “You bump that tee forward 87 yards and it’s a bit like 10 at Augusta. Unless you can shape the ball 40, 50 yards from right to left with a driver, I’m not sure what you do off that tee.
“I’m two behind in the U.S. Open needing to make birdies and I’m hitting 2-iron off a reachable par 5, but that’s kind of the way the course was this week.”
Jason Dufner, who was also in the mix of contenders Sunday, said he heard the day before from one of the USGA officials that the hole would be moved up inside 600 yards.
“I kind of had an idea and got to the golf course today and heard that it was way up,” Dufner said.
Others had no clue until Sunday. Woods and playing partner Casey Wittenberg were discussing the change during their round Sunday.
“We never heard all week from the USGA that they were going to move the tee up there,” Woods said. “They said it was going to be 602 and 675 and we come out there today and it’s 575.
“And I thought I swiped it off the tee and end up in the fairway, and Casey hit his shot and he was a little angry at himself that he hit it in the left rough, and it was right down the middle of the fairway.
“So it’s an interesting setup there.”
- Jim Furyk