Eight reasons why you wouldn't break 100 at Shinnecock Hills
4. The rough, have you seen the rough? But the fairways are 40 yards wide, aren’t they? Yes they are and that is generous but, in time (probably half a dozen holes), just the sight of what frames the rough will be playing on your mind.
There’s every chance you might get a bit twitchy and knob one into the bund ahead of you, more likely you will hold on to a few and head straight left.
Let’s assume you find the thick stuff. And it is thick, there is no ‘semi rough’ that they keep speaking of, just big, fat horrible lumps of thick grass and, a few yards sideways, knee-high wrist-wrenching hay.
Did you see Rory McIlroy struggle to move the ball more than a foot on Thursday? Remember those fitness videos that he posts where he lifts all those weights and generally pounds his driver 350 yards.
You and I probably haven’t been to the gym other than a few misguided weeks one January and we hit it 100 yards shorter off the tee. He’s not getting it out because of poor technique, it’s just too much to expect anyone to advance it from some spots.
We might spend the best part of a couple of hours in there.
5. But I’ve got a really good short game? Said nobody ever with a handicap of 10.
I can think of three amateurs who I’ve played within 35 years who are dynamite around the greens. And even then they are a whole world away from the boys on tour.
Should you go to any tournament and spend some time watching them chip, from grass or sand, and there is a metronomic pattern to it. Contact-bounce-skid-stop.
In their favour they have far better technique, a familiarity through hours of practice every day, perfect maybe brand new grooves and a variety of shots with a variety of clubs.
We don’t. Much like the rough huge chunks of our daylight hours could be spent playing short-game tennis from one side of the green to the other. They’re not all of a sudden hitting bad shots, it’s just bloody hard and a million miles from anything we’re used to.
6. Putting rarely looks hard on TV and, quite often, we only see a 40-footer if it’s going in.
‘Oh, here’s Trey Mullinax at +14, I wonder why they’re showing him?’
In she goes..
The reality is a world away from this. I can only relate to rapid greens when you’re playing somewhere nice overseas and you spend four hours dribbling putts from 10 feet, missing breaks and very occasionally horseshoeing out.
At some point your first putt will miss by 20 feet and, within the next minute or so, you are panicking about the possibility of four putts.
This is how I am anticipating my efforts to go on the Shinnecock greens and lag putting is maybe my greatest/only strength.
7. How’s your ball flight control? I’m sorry?
Our heroes talk of working through nine shapes of shot on the practice ground before taking to the 1st tee – the high draw, the low draw, the normal draw, the low straight ball, the high straight ball, the straight ball, the high fade, the low fade and the normal fade. Nine shots for any eventuality from the short stuff.
Should we ever hit any balls on the range it generally won’t go beyond lumping a small bucket of 7-irons.
8. You’re playing a US Open course and you’ll be done in before you’ve even put a tee in the ground.
Strange things will then happen – putts will keep coming back to your feet, you’d somehow power lip-out on a crusty green and miss the one after that, you’d play the wrong ball, you’d get some element of the yips – and you won’t be equipped mentally to deal with the ongoing setbacks, why would you be?
Don’t be fooled for one second, these guys are good, we wouldn’t keep it under three figures.