Klein: Pinehurst, one week complete

LPGA players (left to right) Brittany Lang, Jaye Marie Green, Belen Mozo and Brittany Lincicome stand to inherit good turfgrass conditions at Pinehurst No. 2 for the U.S. Women's Open (shown here Sunday).
LPGA players (left to right) Brittany Lang, Jaye Marie Green, Belen Mozo and Brittany Lincicome stand to inherit good turfgrass conditions at Pinehurst No. 2 for the U.S. Women's Open (shown here Sunday). ( Getty Images )

Monday, June 16, 2014

Having attended more than 20 U.S. Opens, I've not seen a course in better shape “the morning after” than Pinehurst No. 2 first thing this morning. By way of comparison, consider Monday at Shinnecock Hills in 2004 on the heels of the Sunday massacre when the greens went over the edge. The course was so rock hard that I broke 18 tees when afforded the chance to play that day. On the first green, it was time to switch to a metal ball marker after snapping a plastic one.

Early fears of heavily divoted U.S. Open fairways at Pinehurst No. 2 turned out to be unwarranted. The sandy surfaces with their Bermudagrass cover withstood the first week well. The main landing areas were in excellent shape for the women starting their practice rounds for the U.S. Women’s Open.

As for the greens, they were treated to a much-needed 12-minute watering this morning, then mowed and rolled as usual – and conveyed little indication of stress.

U.S. Golf Association staffers said green speeds this morning were within the same range as for the men – around 13 on the Stimpmeter early, reverting to 12.2-12.5 during a day of play. While the expectation is to maintain the same speeds for the two weeks of play, green firmness will be dialed back about ten percent to accommodate the shot pattern of the women, which tends to be lower and with less spin. But let's not get carried away with the numbers in this case, for fear of arming out-of-control green chairmen who might be tempted to achieve “U.S. Open firmness” at their home courses.