Golf Channel analysts take on Chambers Bay: 'Type of golf...is least unpredictable, most thrilling golf there is'
Chambers Bay is a fertile subject for analysis, and Golf Channel's astute trio of analysts — Brandel Chamblee, Frank Nobilo and David Duval — delivered three different and interesting perspectives on the U.S. Open course on Tuesday evening:
"I can't remember a major championship with more buildup and talk about the unknowns. Nobody seems to know how the golf course is going to play, what they're going to shoot, or what type of player that it's going to favor.
"But I would like to focus on the knowns. We know this isn't a true links golf course, that it's a links-type golf course. We also know that it's probably the favored type of golf course by most of the great architects. Alister MacKenzie tried to incorporate that philosophy into Augusta National.
"We also know that it has brought out the best golf and the best players. From 1963 to 1981, Jack Nicklaus only one time finished worse than sixth in the Open Championship, and perhaps the greatest battle of all time happened between Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson on that dry brittle land right next to the ocean [the '77 Open Championship at Turnberry]. We also know that Tiger Woods…the closer he got to the edge of the water, the better he seemed to play. If you fast forward to 2010 [and the U.S. Amateur at Chambers Bay], the number one and number two amateurs met in the final. The type of golf it's after…it's the least unpredictable and most thrilling golf I think there is."
"In the process of this week it's going to be about attitude. Whether you love or hate this attempt at links golf, you're going to have to play it. And it's sort of reminiscent of Gary Player. When you'd hear Gary Player speak, he would fall in love with the golf course. The greens, these are the best greens I've ever played. The fairways, the shapes of the holes. I think the player that comes closest to that is going to have the best chance. You're going to have to fall in love with this golf course between now and your tee-off time on Thursday."
"It's more of a hybrid-type links course. You have a lot of forced carries and then you have to play the bounce. You do get the ball in the air more here than you would on a true links over in Scotland or Ireland. That brings in a lot more factors. It brings in the wind with the ball being moved around.
"We've been fortunate to speak to [USGA Executive Director] Mike Davis a few times and they have no idea, either, about a winning score. I asked them directly that question, what do you envision happening here for a winning score. It's like, I don't have a clue.' Nobody knows. What they want to see is they want the golf course to fare well, to contest well, to play fairly and have the players walking away and saying, yeah, the best player that week won, it wasn't a fluke, it wasn't a joke, it wasn't all luck.'"