The 115th U.S. Open will take place at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash., the week of June 15th. Chambers Bay is a difficult course – one that, in the words of Brandon Tierney, looks like it’s “going to swallow up a lot of golfers.”
Hunter Mahan can’t say for sure.
He’s never played there.
“I’m going to go there Saturday and play . . . before the week kind of officially begins and get on the golf course with my caddy, John Wood, and we’re going to (scout) the heck out of that place and figure out the best way to play it,” the PGA Tour golfer said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “It’s going to be a U.S. Open. It’s going to be challenging, tee to green. You know putting is going to be enormous, and you’re going to have to make those 15-footers in for pars and birdies. You know it’s going to be a mental and physical grind the whole week. I’m going to start working today on it and figuring out the best way to play it. It’s going to be a challenge. It’s a U.S. Open. Even par is going to be a good score.”
As part of his scouting, Mahan will play each hole, take situational shots from certain spots, and see which areas he likes and which areas he’d like to avoid.
“Each course represents different challenges and opportunities,” he said. “There’s just so much to figure out kind of in a short amount of time. You’re going to try to do your best to figure that out and figure out how, if the wind changes, how it’s going to change the golf course, figuring out long or short and the best place to be on the golf course. There’s a lot to figure out – like there is figuring out a new team that maybe you haven’t seen before. You got to figure out the best way to attack it.”
Mahan, who has top-eight finishes at all four majors, will be one of several noteworthy golfers participating in the U.S. Open. The player list includes Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and, yes, Tiger Woods, who is playing perhaps the worst golf of his career.
Woods shot a career-worst 85 on Saturday at the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio, finishing the weekend with a career-worst 302. It was the third time Woods shot in the 80s in his career – and the second in 2015.
“It’s hard to fathom,” Mahan said. “It’s hard to think that this is purely golf-related because I’ve been around him a little bit when he was working with Sean Foley, and I saw stuff that he was doing. I was able to talk to him a little bit. He’s always been so super nice to me during Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups. I admire him so much and what he’s done for the game of golf. It’s strange to see. But like I said, he’s one of the more private guys in the world. I don’t know what’s going on with him. The only thing I can say is I hope he gets his golf game together and I hope he starts enjoying the game as much as he did when he was a kid and can just go out there and play free. I don’t think he’s playing free golf. It doesn’t seem like he’s enjoying it as much as he used to because I think we all know what he can do on a golf course. It’s pretty amazing, and I hope he gets back to that.”