While the USGA are determined to avoid any controversies at this year’s US Open, one problem that is likely to arise is pace of play.
According to the governing body’s Jeff Hall, managing director of rules and open championships, he believes that rounds will take a ‘maximum’ allotted time of four hours and 52 minutes.
Now Erin Hills is a large site, sitting on 650 acres of Wisconsin land, but the time for two-balls isn’t much quicker – with the time set at four hours and 16 minutes.
However, according to GolfDigest.com, caddies on-site at the championship believe rounds could take up to SIX hours should conditions prove problematic and there is time spent searching for balls in the thick fescue.
Hall, though, moved to reassure people that with 5,000 volunteers on-site, he hoped the times the USGA have calculated will be accurate.
“We certainly are aware here at Erin Hills with the wind and the presentation of the fescue grass, that we could have more ball searches, potentially,” said Hall.
“We've got 5,000 plus volunteers and a large number of those are part of our marshal group. If a particular hole is creating challenges with errant tee shots, whatever it may be, we'll get the resources to those places to help us find the golf ball and keep things moving.”
“We have been consciously monitoring over the last four or five years and it has had a positive. Have we turned a four hour 45 minute round into three hours and 30 minutes, I don't think anybody in this room could expect that type of result. This is the United States Open. This is a very stern test of golf. It's that ultimate test of golf and the pace of play is going to reflect that.”