After first looks, Woods, Mickelson weigh in on Chambers Bay

Nike is taking Tiger Woods to China to help stoke interest in golf.

Nike is taking Tiger Woods to China to help stoke interest in golf.

After spending two days at U.S. Open site, Chambers Bay, ahead of this week’s Memorial Tournament, Tiger Woods isn’t really sure whether or not he likes the Robert Trent Jones II course.
“Do I like it? Depends how it’s set up,” said Woods.

Chambers Bay is a links-style course built out of a former rock quarry. It has wide fairways, as well as enormous, undulating greens — and something USGA executive director, Mike Davis, absolutely loves: options.

Davis has said he’ll swap the par on Nos. 1 and 18 during the tournament, with one playing as a par 4 one day and a par 5 the next. He’ll transform some long par 4s from behemoths the day prior to reachable holes 24 hours later. Some of the tee boxes won’t even be flat. 

“It can be played so many different ways,” he added. “It could be a golf course in which, hey, this golf course is pretty easy. You hit long driver down there and drive it on three of the par 4s. You can hit a lot of wedges into the holes and you tear it apart.”

Woods is in the dark on the setup, so the staggering options somewhat stymied how he tried to learn the course. 

“We got out there and it was like, oh, my God, there’s so many different options here,” he said. “You have to know. I don’t take a long time in practice rounds, but we played in three and a half hours, just the front nine, had lunch, kind of sat down there and talked about it and played another three and a half on the back.”

Phil Mickelson made a similar scouting trip, walking away thinking of Chambers, with fescue grass everywhere, as more like an Open Championship venue. He likes the venue.

“I don’t see it getting out of hand at all,” he said. “I don’t see the wind being as strong as a typical British Open. They won’t be able to get the greens very fast, to where they’re out of control. Certainly, there’s a lot of contour, but around the hole where the pin placements are, they seem very fair. I really enjoyed it.”

Then again, perhaps that a trademark Mickelson self-pep-talk. After all, he has an Open Championship to his credit (2013, Muirfield). He has six runner-ups in the U.S. Open, and it’s the only thing keeping him from the career Grand Slam.

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