Players not happy with US Open rough as they describe the course as a 'links course on steroids'

The venue for this week's US Open is like a "links course on steroids" according to Spain's Jon Rahm, who is one of the favourites for victory in just the fourth major championship of his career.

Although they always deny it, the United States Golf Association (USGA) want the US Open to be the toughest test for the world's best players, with the winning score close to level par.

That usually means narrow fairways, thick rough and quick greens and Erin Hills in Wisconsin looks to be no exception, with scare stories abounding about the knee-high fescue grass which lurks just a few feet off the fairways.

"I didn't step in it," Rahm admitted in a pre-tournament press conference. "There's no need to injure my wrist this week before I tee off.

"It really looks very penalising. Unless you get extremely lucky where you might be able to move it 120 yards, it looks like a 30-yard chip out to the fairway.

"I think we've all seen the videos on social media that Kevin Na and Rickie Fowler and other players posted. It doesn't look easy to move out of there. It wouldn't surprise me if someone loses a ball and has to take an unplayable (lie)."

On Monday, Kevin Na recorded a video showing how difficult the course is. Just yards away from the edge of most fairways, lies waist-high fescue that looks unplayable.

Na has played in six US Opens and had a top-ten finish last year. He is not happy with the conditions.

At 7,741 yards, Erin Hills is the longest course in major history and the par-five 18th can stretch to 675 yards, although numerous tee boxes allow the course set-up to be varied every day depending on weather conditions.

"It's like a links golf course on steroids," added Rahm, who was the low amateur in a tie for 23rd at Oakmont last year. "Everything is a little bigger.

"It's a US Open, they expect our best. It's big greens, big slopes, you have to be able to lag putt. With all the slopes going off the green, you might miss the green by three feet, roll off to 30 feet and being able to putt those, or even if you want to bump, run, chip it close, it's going to be important.

"We saw that at Pinehurst (in 2014). It worked out pretty well that week."

View this post on Instagram

The rough is really thick this week just off the edge of the fairway! 😂😂😂#usopen

A post shared by Lee Westwood (@westwood_lee) on

Rahm has enjoyed a spectacular rise through the ranks since turning professional after last year's US Open, winning his maiden PGA Tour title in January and finishing third and second in his first two World Golf Championship events.

The 22-year-old has climbed from 551st in the world rankings to his current position of 10th and now has his sights set on following in the footsteps of Masters champion Sergio Garcia.

"It just motivates me," Rahm said of his fellow Spaniard's overdue triumph at Augusta. "We've played together a bunch this year. I've played against him in the (WGC) Match Play.

"I've seen him play and I see what he can do and I know what I'm capable of. It makes me believe that I'll be able to win a major some day.

"And it makes me want to work harder. A close friend of mine winning a tournament motivates me. A Spaniard winning a major is always going to motivate me."

More in this Section

Nuno sets sights on January signings to boost Wolves squadNuno sets sights on January signings to boost Wolves squad

Brendan Rodgers hails Jamie Vardy as one of the best strikers in EuropeBrendan Rodgers hails Jamie Vardy as one of the best strikers in Europe

Venue changed for Liverpool’s first match in Club World CupVenue changed for Liverpool’s first match in Club World Cup

Ralph Hassenhuttl puts Southampton improvement down to rediscovering identityRalph Hassenhuttl puts Southampton improvement down to rediscovering identity


This Christmas remember that there is no such thing as cheap food.Buy local: Use your LOAF

As we wait, eager and giddy, a collective shudder of agitated ardor ripples through the theatre, like a Late, Late Toyshow audience when they KNOW Ryan’s going to give them another €150 voucher. Suddenly, a voice booms from the stage. Everyone erupts, whooping and cheering. And that was just for the safety announcement.Everyman's outstanding Jack and the Beanstalk ticks all panto boxes

Every band needs a Bez. In fact, there’s a case to be made that every workplace in the country could do with the Happy Mondays’ vibes man. Somebody to jump up with a pair of maracas and shake up the energy when things begin to flag.Happy Mondays create cheery Tuesday in Cork gig

More From The Irish Examiner