ARDMORE, Pa. – Watching the best that amateur golf has to offer from the U.S. and GB&I, one thing is crystal clear: Merion is winning the battle. The golf course, short by modern standards at 6,846 yards, is proving that length is just one part of a difficult equation.
I’ve watched the best of the best struggle over the longer holes just to get to the green in three shots, or try to be too precise on the shorter scoring holes. Then comes the requisite shaking of the head after missing a putt to gain some advantage. Merion, wet or dry, is proving a very worthy adversary.
The funny part of all this is that Merion is not set up to be an adversary this week, but should be friendly to its Walker Cup guests. In fact, Merion has not been set up to fend off the best since 1981 when David Graham won the U.S. Open with a score of 7 under par, a score that must have come from a benign set-up, because the Merion that is on display this week seems unlikely to produce totals in the red when the U.S. Open returns here for its fifth visit in 2013.