The greens are the most menacing part of this Donald Ross Pinehurst No. 2 design, and on Saturday, they brutalized the field. It was a combination of no moisture, a little wind, and the USGA pushing it to the limit with the pin placement on all but one or two holes. Kenny Perry, the oldest player in the field, said it was the hardest group of pin locations he'd ever seen at a major championship. Leader Martin Kaymer said the 18th was the only real pin he thought he could take aim at, and multiple players said just getting your ball 30 to 35 feet from the hole was a success.
USGA Executive Director and course setup ace Mike Davis said Sunday morning that the final round hole locations wouldn't be as tough as Saturday, but they're not opening the door for any rounds of 65 like we saw Kaymer shoot earlier in the week. How you handle the repellant turtleback greens will once again make or break the leaders' final round. Chipping is obviously a huge part of that with so many balls not holding the green, but this is also the most likely venue where you can go from putting back to chipping in an instant, as we saw Kaymer demonstrate on Saturday.
The turtleback shape of these greens doesn't give the USGA a ton of places to put the pin and avoid the kind of disaster we saw at Shinnecock in 2004, where USGA officials had to water down the green in between tee shots. But they still manage to tuck most of them less than 10 feet from the edge. The 18th hole location is the traditional Sunday spot where Payne Stewart drilled that uphill bomb to win it here in 1999. Here's the pin sheet for Sunday at the U.S. Open: