When the USGA announced it was stretching Olympic Club's uphill, par-5 16th hole to an eye-popping 670 yards, you had to figure the length was going to raise some eyebrows.
USGA executive director Mike Davis, who oversaw the course layout, admitted the length was added in an attempt to make the hole a "true three-shotter."
And at 670 yards, there's no questions it's a three-shotter ... and then some.
Every U.S. Open seems to have at least one controversial hole, and this year is no different. While most of the players in the field have been careful not to outright criticize the 16th this week, Phil Mickelson (big surprise) gave his honest assessment on the extreme length.
"It's definitely the hardest and arguably the worst," Mickelson said of the longest hole in U.S. Open history.
Never one to mince words, Mickelson went on to say that the par-5 would ... gulp ... play over par for the week.
"I believe that you play 15 holes of really tough, tough golf," Mickelson said. "And you finally get your first par‑5 and it's the toughest hole on the course. I think 16 will play more over par stroke average than any hole on the course. That would be my prediction."
Mickelson also noted that it was "a case where longer is not better." That seems to be the consensus from most of the golfers in the field -- including Bubba Watson, who admitted he couldn't reach the hole with driver, driver on Tuesday.
"You can't reach that hole in two from the forward tee," Watson said. "I don't know why it needs to be 670 with the deepest rough of the golf course. There's going to be people that don't get there in three because they hit it in the rough and the lie is bad."
When one of the longest hitters in golf is lamenting the length of a par-5, you know something could potentially be wrong with the setup. We'll find out more about the hole in the days to come, but for the moment, it has the potential to be a hot-button topic.
The 16th doesn't even crack the top 5 of longest golf holes in the world, however. The top dog is the 841-yard par-6 (yes, 6) 12th at the Meadow Farms Golf Course in Locust Grove, Va. Yep, that's nearly a half-mile-long golf hole. Think the PGA Tour pros would take well to that?
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