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How to win the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst

As I pulled into the parking lot today, the license plate of the car in front of me read “ALL PARZ.” That is the order of the day. Damage control. Grinding.

A great golf course is really a puzzle. The key is to figure out a game plan and execute it. One of the greatest blights ever imposed upon the game is that it became “normal” to dumb down the game to it’s least intelligent level. Hit it high and soft and between the trouble which is all on the sides. Lather rinse repeat.

No. A great golf course – like a Sawgrass – constantly makes you think…makes you analyze…makes you be creative…and keeps changing up on you all round with a wide variety of design features and shot shaping requirements.

Pinehurst does that. These greens are unusual, but they are a puzzle to be decoded by the very best. That’s why Retief Goosen has been successful. Like Shinnecock, the course has linksy featurs around the greens…bump and run here, pitch and check there, putt somewhere else. It makes sense that a guy like Retief, who grew up playing links courses and has a varied short game would have an advantage over his American counterparts who were preconditioned to only have most of the greenside shots in the bag, but maybe not all.

Nevertheless, at a U.S. Open the course is the star. Pinehurst wore that mantle proudly. That is one of the features I like very much about the U.S. Open – the course is the star. This year’s star is now about to come on for the encore. Retief may have ice water in his veins but it won’t be easy. Pinehurst has one more surprise…one more thrill left in store for us. Let it roll, I say, as high as it can go.

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