- Players split on whether to go to Chambers Bay before US Open
- Tiger Woods, Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson say they will
- Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter and Webb Simpson say they won't
With Chambers Bay preparing to host the US Open for the first time in the tournament’s 120-year history, the course will soon close to the public as players arrive to practice at a course which most are alien to.
But will many make the trip across to Washington state in the days and weeks leading up to the event? The general consensus seems to be very mixed, despite USGA executive director Mike Davis’ comments claiming that no one will be able to just turn up on the week of the event and win.
"There is no way, no way, a player would have success here at Chambers Bay unless he really studies the golf course" - Mike Davis
Speaking late last month, Davis said: “I would contend that there is no way, no way, a player would have success here at Chambers Bay unless he really studies the golf course and learns it.
“The idea of coming in and playing two practice rounds and having your caddie just walk it and using your yardage book, that person's done. Will not win the U.S. Open.”
But, who has, or will take on board the USGA man’s comments and play the Robert Trent Jones II-designed links-style course ahead of the US Open from June 18-21.
Will go to Chambers Bay
Speaking after the Players Championship, Woods said: “I'm definitely going to head out there before the U.S. Open week to take a look at it. When, I don't know, but I will definitely get out there. From what I hear, it's a golf course we need to take a look at a few times before the week.
“The only thing I’ve ever seen of it is a lot of guys three-putting and four-putting and eventually NBC didn't show a lot of putts, they just showed a lot of the tap-ins. Guys were putting balls off the greens.”
“I plan to be there for a significant period beforehand," the Australian said. "From all reports it looks like something quite unique and even hearing Mike Davis' comments of a person without good knowledge of the course won't have a chance here, you know, just shows me that certainly you're going to have to get a few rounds in and hopefully there’ll be a few different conditions to be able to play.”
Speaking before last week’s Wells Fargo Championship, Mickelson said: “They're closing it down probably a month before, three weeks before. I think that's plenty.
“It gives the course a chance to get in tournament shape and be in good condition for the Open and gives us a chance to go play some practice rounds close enough to the Open. It will be some good as well as doing it in an environment without the public on the golf course. They close it May 27. I'll plan on going there sometime after that.”
Won't be going to Chambers Bay
“With the way the tour is, no one is going to go out there and play 10 practice rounds," McIlroy said. "I try to play the golf course the way it's designed to be played and, you know, I think sometimes there's overemphasis on knowing a golf course too much because you can know the golf course better than anyone else but if you go out there and don't execute the shots, then it's worthless.
“There might be a few times when course knowledge comes into it a little bit but I think you should have a relative knowledge of the course after playing it two, three times.”
The Englishman, as usual, was pretty forthright on his views about the venue and took to Twitter to give his initial thoughts on the course and when he’d arrive there.
That's that cleared up then!
Also speaking ahead of the Wells Fargo Championship, Simpson said: “I heard what he said. So I just said you know, we'll play for second. I can't get out there. It's not exactly easy to get there from the east coast.
“I understand why he said it from what I've heard about Chambers Bay but it's just – I love playing the FedEx St Jude before. That would be my only window to go and I would rather play in that tournament than go see it.
“It's just a week that I'm really going to be serious about Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and almost make those days more important than the tournament and just see what happens. Good second place.”
Chambers Bay :: Your thoughts
From what you've read about Chambers Bay, would you be keen to get out there to play it before US Open week? Leave your thoughts below.