ERIN, Wis. – Daniel Chopra has a unique weapon of choice for the penalizing rough of Erin Hills: a ladies 9-wood.
That’s right, for more than a decade now, the Swede has kept a Ping G5 9-wood handy when things get extreme, like they often do at a U.S. Open.
Chopra, 43, dropped back to the thick stuff off the back of the range to demonstrate. He asked his caddie to hold back the ropes as he created a particularly poor lie.
He can hit the 9-wood anywhere from 170 yards to 230, depending on the type of lie and type of grass.
“If I open it up,” he said, right before taking a swing, “it can get through.”
The intermediate rough at Erin Hills, which is primarily fescue, is 1 yard wide and 2 inches thick. The next cut of rough is between 5 and 9 yards wide and 3 to 4 inches thick.
Then there’s the tall wispy stuff that’s dry and thin in some areas. Chopra could get lucky in the tall fescue.
Ping’s Christian Pena has fielded plenty of questions about the 9-wood over the years.
“It’s like a unicorn,” said Pena. “We don’t see it very often.”
There are several Ping players with 7-woods at Erin Hills, Pena said, but whether or not they use them will depend on the wind.
Chopra, who has nine starts this season on the Web.com Tour, qualified for his first U.S. Open since 2008 by medaling at the Canoe Brook Country Club sectional qualifier.
When asked if he has received strange looks from his peers over the years, Pena shook his head.
“Jealous looks,” he said.