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26.06 US Open:
Hvor vanskelig skal det være?
Av: Asbjørn Ramnefjell
Her er hva som skjedde på den siste dagen for å redde hele turneringen fra å bli en fullstendig katastrofe.

Som TV-kommentator under US Open tillot jeg meg å stille spørsmål ved om banen rett og slett var i forsvarlig stand til å spille på. Jeg var ikke alene. Problemene med flaggplasseringene var et omtridt tema. Det TV-seerne ikke visste, var noe av det som står i artikkelen gjengitt under av Gary Sheppard på The Wire.

Det 7. hullet var unfair før vanningen tok til etter at de første spillerne hatt hatt urettferdige forhold.
Fra artikkelen under: There was a serious situation developing on the seventh green. Among the first few players to play through the hole a triple bogey and two double bogeys had been recorded. The hole location could not be changed, so the only option was to syringe -- another expression for watering the hole to help soften it without making it slick.

De måtte flytte hullet på det 11. hullet like før de først spillerne kom dit. (fra artikkelen under:
At the 11th's current location, Meeks said that “a third of the players would putt it off the green.”

Selv etter fire flyttinger karakteriserte spillerne flaggplasseringen som unfair. Da blir det litt tullete at forståsegpåere i Norge skal mene at det er slik det skal være for å gjøre det vanskelig. Det skal ikke være så vanskelig at det blir latterlig. Dette er det dessverre mange som ikke klarer å forstå.

På det 18. hullet: With more than 200 spectators watching, Meeks soon realized the original hole would be too tough to putt to.

Godt arbeid på søndag gjorde US Open til en minnerik opplevelse - helt på kanten av det forsvarlige med hensyn til banens vanskelighetsgrad. Men innenfor rammen.

Her er hele artikkelen til Gary Sheppard:

Sunday, June 20: The final round, 104th U.S. Open, Shinnecock Hills Golf Club

I awoke to a nearly picture-perfect day with deep, clear blue skies, moderately gusty winds and temperatures in the upper 50s. This was the best day of the entire week and I thought it would be a fitting final day of the U.S. Open.

At 8 a.m., I met Tom Meeks as scheduled and we headed out to begin placing tee markers on the 10th hole. Meeks showed me my first "inside the ropes” fact: The tee box markers change location on each of the four rounds in a very specific fashion. Thursday through Sunday, the tee markers are moved progressively closer to the front of the tee box on even-numbered holes, while moved progressively further back in the tee box on odd-numbered holes. After taking the red U.S. Open logoed ball markers from their protective green felt holders and carefully lining them about 8 or 9 yards apart, Meeks then took out his white paint spray can and marked the exact location of the markers with four tiny white dots, indicating it was the fourth day of marker locations. We then hopped back on the cart and drove down the undulating 10th fairway before coming to a stop just before the steep rise to the 10th green.

Meeks and Mike Davis, USGA director of competitions, along with other USGA officials, met on the previous weekend to decide on the hole locations for each of the championship’s four rounds and one extra in case of an 18-hole Monday playoff. Meeks and Davis not only checked the hole locations for S unday, but were also marking with a red dime-sized paint mark, the locations of holes for a possible Monday playoff.

Meeks also placed his spray paint can on Sunday's selected hole location and then took a few test putts from various locations on the green to see what the ball was going to do. Meeks said he wanted to avoid a location that would have the ball accelerate toward the hole and not have a chance to stop.

When asked his thoughts on the condition of the greens, Meeks said they were in great shape and were playing “a few inches quicker than Saturday.” I did not see any so-called “dead areas” that players later complained about, but there was a mosaic of colors from shades of green to brown.

The greens are a combination of bent grass and poa annua, which is what tends to brown because it cannot handle the drought stress as well as bent can. The green surfaces were very firm and I was barely making any indentation with my running shoes, at least none that I could see. The surfaces appeared to be very clean, free of scuffmarks and looked to be amazingly smooth, practically polished like a fine piece of my grandmother’s antique burled-walnut furniture.

Meeks continued to putt toward the spray paint can on the 10th and was satisfied with the location. He then summoned John Nunez to cut the hole. Now it was on to the 11th tee box.

Meeks again unwrapped two tee markers and took an approximate reading of where he wanted to line up the markers. He looked toward the uphill green and outstretched his arms. He then pressed them into the tee box, marked their location with four shots of paint and headed to the 11th green.

Lee Trevino once called the par-3 11th hole the "shortest par-5 on the course." At 158 yards, it was the shortest hole, one in which the green slopes from back to front. The wind was blowing from the North-Northwest directly over the top of the backside of the green. The hole location had been chosen for the right front, but when Meeks went thr ough his putting routine his putts were accelerating past the can and running off the front side toward the front right bunker. He tried a few more times and got the same result. After moving the can a few feet over to the right front, Meeks got a result he was satisfied with -- so it seemed.

Despite the hole having been cut, Meeks was not convinced this was a fair location due to the strong winds blowing over the backside and down toward the flag. He tried a putt from the top of the green and the ball began trickling, then accelerating and showing no signs of slowing down. I chased after the ball to prevent it from running off the green and into the bunker. Another putt produced a similar result. The hole, though, had already been cut and the crew had moved onto the 12th.

Meanwhile, another problem was surfacing. On Meeks' radiophone was Davis. There was a serious situation developing on the seventh green. Among the first few players to play through the hole a triple bogey and two double bogeys had been recorded. The hole location could not be changed, so the only option was to syringe -- another expression for watering the hole to help soften it without making it slick.

Meeks saw the potential for the same problem on the 11th, so he sought help from Walter Driver, vice-president of the USGA and chairman of the championship committee. He also called Tim Moraghan, director of USGA Championship agronomy.

While waiting for Driver and Moraghan to arrive, Meeks said the USGA wants to make it tough, but not to the point where players have little or no chance of being able to slow the putt before it reaches the hole. At the 11th's current location, Meeks said that “a third of the players would putt it off the green.”

Driver attempted a few putts and none held the green. Driver then turned to Meeks and said, “Let’s put the hole right in the center of the green and let the players aim for the center.” Meeks put his can dead center in the middle of the green, then Driver wa tched as his 10-foot putt rolled 8 feet past the hole. He tried again with even worse results.

Finally, Meeks moved the location to the back right side, where the green was relatively flat. Meeks' putts came to a stop and held. After about an hour on the 11th green, Meeks finally said “Let’s move it boys and I’m sorry to make you cut a new hole, but we have to do it.”

He called the USGA office and gave them the new coordinates: “9 left, 9 right, 20.” This was now the fourth hole location tried that morning. By day's end no player was criticizing the final location as being unfair.

Meeks made the call to move the location slightly at the 12th and was then pleased with the 13th and 14th greens.

On one of the tee boxes, Meeks said Shinnecock Hills Golf Club actually owned the flags and ball markers, not the USGA. Meeks said the USGA used to design plain block-shaped tee markers and those almost never got stolen, but the current “commemorative style” that are printed with the specific year's U.S. Open logo were more prone to disappearances.

As we reached the 15th green, a spectator commented that the hole location that Meeks was test putting toward appeared quite close to the fringe. The fan asked why it was so close to the edge of the green and Meeks replied with a smile: "They mow it don’t they?” Meeks later added that 4 feet was the closest he could remember hole locations being from the edge of a green.

On the 16th green, the location was set for the right center and Meeks needed only a few putts to confirm that it was OK. Fans applauded when Meeks' 15-foot putt came to rest within an inch of the intended hole.

Later in the day, Phil Mickelson took a one-stroke lead over Retief Goosen with a birdie putt. Goosen later birdied the hole, as well.

At the par-3 17th, Saturday’s hole location had been left front. Today, it was planned to be right front with a very slight break going left to right from the topside of the green. Little did anyone realize at the time that this slight downhill break would snatch the U.S. Open away from Mickelson with a three-putt double bogey from within 6 feet of the hole.

The crowds were beginning to swell. It was just after 11 a.m. and already the ninth pairing had teed off on No. 1. At the 18th green, a sizable number of fans were in the grandstands and in an assortment of fold-out chairs ringing the roped off area surrounding the green. Meeks reached down to the spot marked for the final hole location on this sweeping green and placed his spray can right over the tiny red circle. Walking back behind the spot about 12 feet, he lined up his putt and stroked it toward the can. The ball gathered speed, passed the can and began rolling toward me near the center of the green. The ball kept rolling past me and really began picking up speed.

With more than 200 spectators watching, Meeks soon realized the original hole would be too tough to putt to. A second location did not work either, so he went further back and to the left about 4 yards in from the left side fringe and 6 yards from the backside. Meeks got his putts to stop close, so finally he had a hole location.

He radioed in the spot to the USGA office, and officials quickly made their third revised hole location sheet of the day and got them out to the caddies and media by just after 11:30 a.m. As the 18th hole was being cut, Meets got a call from Driver, who was at the seventh hole. There was trouble and Meeks was on his way.

Meeks wanted the hole locations to be a test for the players, but also fair. In my opinion, he accomplished both goals.

Si din mening!!

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