Shinnecock will help U.S. Open rediscover identity - Duval

The U.S. Open needs to rediscover its identity, and David Duval believes Shinnecock Hills is the place for it to do so.

Shinnecock will help U.S. Open rediscover identity - Duval

The U.S. Open needs to rediscover its identity, and David Duval believes Shinnecock Hills is the place for it to do so.

Former world number one David Duval is hopeful Shinnecock Hills will help the U.S. Open rediscover its identity.

Once regarded as the most feared event in golf, the U.S. Open has seen players find it easier to finish in the red, with each of the last four winners finishing under par since Justin Rose won with a one-over score at Merion in 2013.

Shinnecock has hosted the major on four occasions. Corey Pavin won with a level-par score in 1995 and, while Retief Goosen prevailed in 2004 when he and Phil Mickelson were the only two under-par players.

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"I'm excited to see a proper U.S. Open again," Duval said in a Golf Channel conference call.

"I'm hoping that the golf course is fair but severe and penal. I hope that it puts a premium back on driving the golf ball and putting it in play, making you choose how you want to attack each hole because of that; do you want to lay back and make sure you get it in play, do you want to try to get it further down, things of that nature.

"I think it's [the U.S. Open] lost its bearings a little bit the last couple of years, last few years, and hopefully with this next run of multiple years with some kind of historical U.S. Open venues, I'm hoping that we see kind of what you think about when you think of a U.S. Open: Tight fairways; high rough; fast greens; hard, fast playing conditions; a real mental test as well as a physical test.

"I think the challenge for the USGA is to try to reclaim the identity of the U.S. Open. When you think of U.S. Opens of past, you think of high rough, severe penalties for driving the ball poorly, severe penalties for missing greens, whether with the long rough around the greens, the difficulty of pitching out of that grass on to a hard, fast, sloping putting surface. That's kind of gone awry the last number of years."

Justin Leonard, who like Duval won his sole major at The Open in the United Kingdom, is keen to see how the younger players on the European and PGA Tours handle the challenge.

"I don't know that they will really be that successful at a place like Shinnecock if the USGA gets the golf course where they want it," he said.

"I think it'll be interesting to see these modern players, which ones make the adjustments to play a stern U.S. Open test on a golf course that has and will stand the test of time."

Former PGA Tour pro Brandel Chamblee believes Shinnecock should be the annual venue for the tournament.

"I think it's too bad they can't play the U.S. Open every single year at Shinnecock," he said. 

"It's a very stern test. If there's even a word stronger than stern, it's brutal. The last round of the 2004 U.S. Open was the first time nobody had shot under par since 1963."

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