Matt Ginella of Golf Digest/Golf Channel reports that Erin Hills in Wisconsin has the inside track on landing the 2017 U.S. Open, but – good Lord help us – that gruesome dog track at Cog Hill…err…Dog Hill just won’t die a grisly death and get out of the running. From the article:
“Even before Erin Hills opened in 2006, the USGA awarded the failed dairy farm the 2008 Women’s Amateur Public Links. Since then the course has been sold to Andy Ziegler, a Milwaukee millionaire, and there have been significant changes to the routing, grass and greens (A Journey’s End, Jan. 25). Erin Hills is scheduled to reopen in August, and it will host the 2011 U.S. Amateur.”
Erin Hills is a beautiful, strategic, well-routed course designed by Dr. Michael Hurdzan, with an assist from GD architecture editor Ron Whitten. Dog Hill 4 (Dubsdread) is “Medinah light:” light on architecture, light on strategy, and butt ugly. It’s flat. The bunkering is boring – five o’clock, seven o’clock, lather, rinse repeat. Most importantly, so what that Chicago “needs” an Open? If they want an Open, build a better golf course or bite the bullet and select everyone’s favorite out there: Chicago Golf Club.
Both Erin and Dog Hill are public, so that issue is a wash.
While I’m happy for Ron Whitten and Dr. Hurdzan if it pans out that Erin Hills will host the 2017 U.S. Open, when it comes to a mid-western U.S. Open venue, why not Oakland Hills? It’s hosted nine majors – six U.S. Opens and three PGAs, it’s tough enough to challenge the pros, it has great greens, it has a huge infrastructure to handle the crowds, and it’s got almost as much history and pedigree and Oakmont and Winged Foot. What’s not to like?
And while I’m on my soapbox, mend fences with Winged Foot and Shinnecock! I’d love to park my trolley on nine at National, cover the event after playing an opening nine, then play home past the windmill on the way home to writing up the day’s action. Who’s with me?!
The USGA will announce the winner (and therefore whiner also) at Pebble Beach during the U.S. Open. To me, the issue is Open and shut. As for Dog Hill, the heck with throwing it a bone, let it sleep outside while the cat gets your lap, let it eat horse meat, while the cat gets tuna and cream, and let it bay and howl while dodging the dog catcher while the cat sleeps on the bed near a roaring fire. That’s how to treat a mongrel of a golf course. Medinah should be good company for it. They have too much in common, and too little to offer in design and architecture.