A familiar rendezvous of the PGA Tour, but when hosting the US Open, the Torrey Pines South Course was adjusted from par72 to par71, deserving the title of “the toughest golf challenge”.

With the Farmers Insurance Open, the South Course of the 36-hole Torrey Pines golf complex in San Diego has been on the PGA Tour calendar since 1968. The 2021 tournament took place in January with the championship belonging to Patrick Reed at -14. This week, the field welcomes the US Open for the second time – the men’s major of the USGA. The tournament is on the 121st match, starting tonight, June 17, Vietnam time.

In 2008, during the first time hosting the US Open, the Torrey Pines Men’s Court recorded Tiger Woods with a fractured tibia and torn ligament in his left leg but still won the championship after 19 extra holes with Rocco Mediate. That year, both finished at -1 point.

Before the 2008 US Open, Woods won the Buick Invitational also at South Torrey Pines but with a -19 point in a par72 arrangement.

According to the original design, the maximum length of the South court is 7,802 yards. When it becomes a major battlefield, it will fluctuate in the range of 2,652 – 7,685 and change from round to round. But on average, the course is about 60 yards longer than the PGA Tour version, with most of the distance changing on the 15th hole. And in the opening round, this par4 hole is at 513 yards.

The 223-yard hole 16 of South Torrey Pines.  Photo: Golf Digest

The 223-yard hole 16 of South Torrey Pines. Image: Golf Digest

The current surface of the South court is different from the beginning of the year. Five months ago it was cold and wet making the fairway soft. But now the weather is warmer, the wind is stronger, so the ball easily rolls farther.

The width of the fairway between this version of the US Open can be said to be almost the same as the last Farmers Insurance Open. However, “it’s the hardness of the surface that makes them tactically narrower, but we don’t interfere with the status quo,” said John Bodenhamer, USGA director of US Open staging. At the Farmers Insurance Open, the ball rolled about 10 yards on the fairway. This month, the ball can easily roll twice but there is a risk of splashing into the rough due to the rough terrain.

The US Open is also notorious for its rough grass. This week, they will be about the same height as January but different strains. Rough at the beginning of the year belonged to the coniferous, smooth rye strain, and now it is a kikuyu species from East Africa. They will slow down clubhead speed, reduce backspin, making it difficult for golfers to exit the rough, then reduce the ability to stop the ball when entering the green. At the 2008 US Open, fairway skaters hit only 38% of greens after exiting the rough. As for the PGA Tour version, they reached 55%.

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