The grand experiment of playing the U.S. Women’s Open the week after the men’s U.S. Open I though was a great idea. Perhaps after the reviews are over the USGA will consider it again (but not for at least 8 years out as all the venues for the next 7 years have been set).
BUT I think the USGA-prepared Pinehurst No. 2 was not a fair test for the women?
I enjoy watching the best women golfers play on the LPGA Tour, and I think Crenshaw/Coore redo of Pinehurst #2 was well done. I think all of the natural areas are better test than the typical heavy 4″ rough to penalize errant shots. However, the USGA, in its infinite wisdom, took that enjoyment out second week’s play. Watching the best women golfers in the world struggle to make double bogeys and triple bogeys was no fun. Yes, the women played a lot shorter course by some 1300-1400 yards. However, what the USGA didn’t take into consideration is the “game” most of the women play. They don’t hit approach shots as high nor with the same spin as the men. It was very disheartening to watch excellent approach shots hit the green (many near the pin) and watch them roll off the back or sides to the collection areas.
All the USGA had to do is soften the greens just a little to make them a bit more receptive and slow the greens a bit. I can’t count the number of 6-8 footers that were barely touched and then ran off some 10-20 yards. It must have been extremely frustrating for the women (Pros and Amateurs alike).
While I had the luxury of being at #2 for the weekend play and could see how the various women handled the course, it is a shame that NBC didn’t provide the anywhere near the time coverage that the men had. I’m sure the TV watching public would have liked to see the leaders play from #1 though #18.
All this being said should not take anything away from the fantastic play of Michelle Wie. Congratulations to her on a well played and deserving 4 rounds of golf. She hit a bump or two over the weekend but didn’t let her get down. Perhaps this win will finally get her on the road to being the top player everyone thought she would be.