McIlroy, others recreate Palmer's shot from '60 Open
Cherry Hills Country Club hosted one of golf’s most memorable majors, the 1960 U.S. Open. Arnold Palmer rallied to win the title and hold off Ben Hogan and 20-year-old amateur Jack Nicklaus. The club last hosted a men's major when Hall of Famer Hubert Green edged Lee Trevino for the 1985 PGA Championship. It has hosted two U.S. Amateurs since as the site of Phil Mickelson’s victory in 1990 and just two years ago, Jordan Spieth was the top seed in match play here before being bounced in the first round.
On Sept. 2, Rory McIlroy, Zach Johnson and Camilo Villegas attempted to re-create Palmer’s historic drive from the first tee with a persimmon driver. It was a nod to Palmer’s legendary tee shot during the 1960 U.S. Open, when "The King" drove the green at the 346-yard hole to jump-start his final round. None of them managed to hit the green.
But with today's technology? "It's a 3-wood, maybe a 5-wood to the front," Graeme McDowell said. "I hope Arnie doesn't take that too personally."
“It’s taken a bit of the teeth out of what this golf course probably did have before,” McIlroy said of today's modern equipment.
But the course is firm, the rough is thick, and if the wind blows, Cherry Hills will give players fits. The key is to jump on the first seven holes, where birdies and eagles could be plentiful.
“You won’t see guys go crazy under par,” McIlroy said. “It’s an old, traditional, timeless golf course, in a way, and if they want, especially with the green complexes, they can make it as tough as they want.”