McDowell offers scouting report on Merion

Graeme McDowell during practice for the 2013 Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Graeme McDowell during practice for the 2013 Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

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5:20:01 PM ET. 04/18/2014




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One story that you won't read in advance of this year's U.S. Open at Merion? A reminiscence of how some competitors fared in the last U.S. Open there.

That's because the U.S. Golf Association hasn't staged the national championship there since 1981.

In fact, heralded and beloved as Merion is, it's becoming quite obvious that the majority of players know very little about the course.

Tiger Woods, for instance, said he's never been there, though you can be sure that he and other contenders will be visiting real soon.

One player who invites intrigue, given his U.S. Open pedigree, is Graeme McDowell, and he has had the opportunity to play the suburban Philadelphia classic. It was last summer and McDowell – who has been T-2, T-13, first and T-18 his last four U.S. Opens – found it to be as exquisite as advertised.

Precision, not length, is the No. 1 demand. You had best be able to handle the blind shots.

"It's always difficult to know until you get there and see how firm it is and how soft it is and the way the rough is," McDowell said.

"But that style of golf certainly appeals to me and appeals to my type of game, and hopefully it can continue this year."

McDowell took note of the opening tee shot, which is struck so tight to the clubhouse that you feel like the members are in your group. He was thrilled to see his drive ended up near the plaque at No. 18 commemorating Ben Hogan's epic shot in 1951 that enabled Hogan to get into a U.S. Open playoff, which he won the next day. No, McDowell didn't use a 1-iron for his 223-yard approach.

"I hit a 3-hybrid," McDowell said. "I think Hogan probably rolled in his grave, to be honest with you."

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