U.S. Open Hole By Hole
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (AP) -- A hole-by-hole look at the Black Course on Bethpage State Park, site of the 109th U.S. Open golf championship, followed by the scorecard of 2002 champion Tiger Woods, and a comment from Mike Davis, the USGA director in charge of setting up the golf course:
No. 1, 430 yards, par 4: The opening shot from an elevated tee bends sharply to the right, with a cluster of tees right of the fairway that will block any approach. The left side is preferred, for a deep bunker guards the front right of the green. The front third of the green, the smallest on the course, slopes sharply, and approach shots with too much spin could roll off.
Tiger Woods' card in 2002: 4-3-4-5.
Mike Davis says: "If you can hit the fairway, you're home free."
No. 2, 389 yards, par 4: The only par 4 under 400 yards. This starts from another elevated tee with a sharp bend, this time to the left between tree-lined ridges. Most players will go with a long iron or fairway metal off the tee, then a short iron to an elevated green that falls off sharply to the left, as much as 10 feet below the putting surface. The right of the green is protected by deep bunkers.
Woods' card in 2002: 3-3-4-5.
Davis says: "If you play it properly, you ought to be thinking birdie."
No. 3, 232 yards, par 3: The tee has been moved back about 25 yards. The green is shallow and angled from right front to back left. Bunkers to the left and right are so deep that players might be able to see only the top of the flag stick. There is a severe drop-off beyond the green.
Woods' card in 2002: 3-3-3-3.
Davis says: "You look back at the angle of the tee and quickly realize the depth of that green is not much. It's going to require, which is pretty much the case at Bethpage, a high, soft shot into that green."
No. 4, 517 yards, par 5: The fairway bends to the left around a cluster of bunkers. Big hitters might opt for a 3-wood to keep the ball from running through the fairway. The rest of the hole climbs 50 feet toward a blind green. Cross bunkers are not in play unless someone misses the fairway into thick rough. The elevated green is protected by a series of bunkers, and the safe play is to the fairway right of the green, leaving an easy pitch.
Woods' card in 2002: 5-4-5-5.
Davis says: "We want to see guys going for it in two. If you hit a bad shot, you can hit it to a place where 5 is going to be a good score. If you lay up, the worst you're going to make is a 5."
No. 5, 478 yards, par 4: The tee has been moved back about 25 yards, making the tee shot even more difficult to carry the massive cross bunkers that hug the right side of the fairway. Players must be careful not to go through the fairway, and the ideal shot is down the right side because of trees that cover a ridge along the left side. The green is relatively small and well-bunkered.
Woods' card in 2002: 4-4-5-4.
Davis says: "The angle you want is the right side, and that's the longest carry of that cross bunker. You stand on that tee, and it makes you want to hit it left. But that's the complete opposite of what you want."
No. 6, 408 yards, par 4: A straightaway hole with a landing area that is tight between large bunkers on either side of the fairway, which then drops some 20 feet. In 2002, the only play was an iron off the tee. But the lower portion of the fairway, which drops some 30 feet, has changed from rough to short grass. Some might go for a driver to get down to the lower portion and leave a wedge to the green, which is surrounded by bunkers. The USGA might move to a forward tee and allow players to go for the green.
Woods' card in 2002: 5-4-4-4.
Davis says: "There's a few holes we have questions about how they're going to play, and that's one of them. I hope the answer is some of them do (hit driver) and some don't. It's an easier hole ... but it's going to make some players scratch their heads."
No. 7, 525 yards, par 4: A par 5 for the public, this converted par got even longer with a new tee that is 36 yards farther back and the fairway was doubled in width to nearly 50 yards in spots. The tee shot is fairly straight, then the hole turns to the right. Tall trees down the right prevent players from cutting off any of the dogleg. The approach will be a long iron to one of the few greens that is not elevated, allowing for a ball to run up, a rarity at Bethpage. A large bunker guards the right side, with a smaller one left of the green.
Woods' card in 2002: 4-4-4-3.
Davis says: "Looking back at '02, that hole did not play right. The way the fairway was contoured, they couldn't drive the ball because there wasn't enough fairway to hit. We built a new tee to absolutely put driver in their hands, but the key is we doubled the width of the fairway."
No. 8, 210 yards, par 3: Elevated tee to a green guarded by a pond in the front, and large bunkers left and to the back that come into play when the hole location is at the back portion. A towering oak and steep sand dune are on the right. The bank at the front of the green has been shaved, and anything short on a front hole location almost certainly will roll into the water. A green features a ridge that could serve as a backboard. For the front hole locations, expect the tee to be moved forward. A shorter club will mean more spin on the ball, and require precision because of the water.
Woods' card in 2002: 3-4-3-3.
Davis says: "It's very likely when we put the hole location in the front, we'll put the tee markers down the front. It may even be a 9-iron or a wedge. We're giving them a real short shot, but they've got to be good with distance control and they've got to control their spin."
No. 9, 460 yards, par 4: A new tee is about 40 yards farther back, and it could be much tougher than in 2002, when it was the fourth-easiest hole. The hole bends to the left, with a large bunker complex on the left side in the landing area. Those wanting to play short of the bunker will find a contoured lie in the fairway. Two deep bunkers protect the front of a relatively flat green.
Woods' card in 2002: 3-4-4-4.
Davis says: "Of all the changes, this hole may end up being the most dramatic."
No. 10, 508 yards, par 4: One of the most criticized holes in 2002 because it required a 265-yard carry just to reach the fairway. The fairway has been brought closer to the tee, making the carry no more than 230 yards. The 10th and 11th fairways are separated by tall fescue and sprawling bunkers and grass hollows. Two other bunkers are on the right. The elevated green is guarded by bunkers.
Woods' card in 2002: 4-5-4-4.
Davis says: "It was never the length of the hole that was the issue. It was the carry to reach the fairway."
No. 11, 435 yards, par 4: The blind tee shot to the fairway that is tucked between dunes should favor the right side, away from the bunkers on the left. The green is among the most severe on the course, with a false front that makes anything beyond the hole a difficult putt or chip. Bunkers nearly surround the front half of the green.
Woods' card in 2002: 4-4-5-4.
Davis says: "It's less blind than it was the last time around. We've altered some bunkers in the driving zone."
No. 12, 504 yards, par 4: Perhaps the toughest tee shot at Bethpage Black, which requires a drive over cross bunkers to shorten the hole. A landing area toward the right is available for shorter hitters, with a wider landing area than '02, although that still stretches the hole on this severe dogleg to the left. Any drive too straight risks running through the fairway into the rough. The large green has pronounced undulations.
Woods' card in 2002: 4-4-4-4.
Davis says: The last go-round, if you hit it over the bunker, you landed in the rough. We widened the fairway on so many holes, that now if you carry that bunker, you're hitting from the fairway."
No. 13, 605 yards, par 5: A new tee has added about 60 yards from 2002, although the hole is fairly straightforward and still might be reached in two if the course is firm. A large bunker on the side is in play off the tee, and cross bunkers 30 yards short of the green will penalize anyone who comes up short. The green slopes moderately from the back to the front, and the bunker to the right of the green is among the deepest on the course.
Woods' card in 2002: 4-5-5-4.
Davis says on the new tee: "It brings those cross bunkers on the third shot into play. The last go-round, unless you hit a horrendous drive, you didn't even think about those cross bunkers. It still allows players to get there in two, but they're going to have to hit driver and a big second shot. But you can do it."
No. 14, 158 yards, par 3: Statistically, the easiest hole in 2002 and one of only two holes where the average score was under par. The tee shot is over a valley to a putting surface that was rebuilt and is wider than it is deep, sloping from back to front and from right to left, with a shelf on top. Gaping bunkers that tumble toward the valley guard the front of the green.
Woods' card in 2002: 2-3-3-3.
Davis says about a back hole location: "You have to say to yourself, 'Over the green is death.' But if you're a little tentative, and it spins back to the middle, now it's not an overly easy two-putt."
No. 15, 459 yards, par 4: The toughest hole at Bethpage in 2002. The hole bends to the left, with the final 180 yards up the hill to an elevated green that is protected in front by deep bunkers for any shot that doesn't carry. Anyone missing the fairway most likely won't reach the green or be able to hold the green. The green is 50 feet above the fairway, and has two tiers that slope from the back left to the front right. It is the toughest green on the course.
Woods' card in 2002: 4-4-3-4.
Davis says: "It's not only the toughest green on the course, it's the toughest green by a landslide. There's so much slope. My whole goal is if we can just get by the week without a disaster."
No. 16, 490 yards, par 4: This runs next to the 15th, starting with an elevated tee shot that drops 60 feet to a narrow fairway that angles from left to right. The hole bends gently to the left. A sprawling bunker is short and right of the green, with another bunker to the left. It is one of the few holes at Bethpage where the putting surface can be seen from the tee box.
Woods' card in 2002: 5-4-4-5.
Davis says: "You can see the entire hole, and there's a tendency to think, 'I can handle this hole.' But if you look back at how it played in '02, it's a sneaky tough hole."
No. 17, 207 yards, par 3: Perhaps the best par 3 on the course, although there's nothing fancy. It has a slightly elevated green separated by a spine through the middle of a putting surface that is 43 yards wide. The front of the green is guarded by a deep bunker, with other bunkers catching the really bad shots.
Woods' card in 2002: 3-3-2-2.
Davis says: "I don't think that hole is going to give them fits. The people on that hole might give them fits."
No. 18, 411 yards, par 4: One of the weaker closing holes for a U.S. Open, this presents a birdie opportunity. The drive is downhill to a fairway that narrows to about 16 yards as it passes through an enormous cluster of bunkers and fescue on both sides. Players can stay short of the bunkers and have 160 yards to the green, or hit driver and have a wedge. The approach is to an elevated green that slopes from back to front, so keeping it below the hole will be critical.
Woods' card in 2002: 3-3-4-5.
Davis says: "Some people on our side are bothered that it's the 18th hole of a U.S. Open and how can we make it harder? I've done the reverse philosophy. Let's not mess with it. Let's create a hole where they can make birdie. The whole concept is to give them a 'catch-up' hole at the end."