Perhaps in Friday’s second round, Bubba Watson will be able to reach the green of the daunting 670-yard 16th with two swings of his driver, as the USGA has apparently taken uncharacteristic pity on the field by shortening the longest hole in U.S. Open history.
After overseeing an opening round that took its toll -- to the tune of 53 bogeys, 15 double-bogeys, and four of the dreaded “others” -- officials moved the tee up 60 yards, according to Golf Channel. The pin placement, which yesterday was in the front, measures 16 paces back and four from the left and should be more accessible in the second round.
If nothing else, Friday’s set-up may cheer Watson, who needs something more than a minor miracle to move into the first 60 and ties who’ll make the cut. Watson will take his opening-round 8-over 78, which included a bogey at the 16th after mishitting his driver from the fairway, back to the course at 4:18 p.m. ET with his luminous playing partners Tiger Woods (tied for second, at 1-under) and Phil Mickelson (76).
“You can't reach that [16th] hole in two from the forward tee,” Watson complained to reporters on Tuesday. “I don't know why it needs to be 670 with the deepest rough of the golf course. There's going to be people that don't get there in three because they hit it in the rough and the lie is bad.”