For better or for worse, the last four days at Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington will be unforgettable.
Jordan Spieth followed up his victory at the Masters by taking home the title at the U.S. Open, becoming sixth golfer ever to win both in the same year and first since Tiger Woods in 2002. Following a double bogey on 17, Spieth hit an amazing second shot on 18 to birdie and move into the lead.
Dustin Johnson than had a chance to win with a 15-foot put on 18 or force a playoff with a five-footer. He three-putted, giving Spieth his second major victory and fans one of the most entertaining endings in years.
Unfortunately, the fantastic tournament has been overshadowed by controversy. Numerous players were unhappy with the course, particularly with the condition of the greens, with legend Gary Player calling it the worst course he’s even seen.
The USGA took a lot of heat for the greens conditions, and it deserved some of the criticism. While it seems like a long shot at the current moment, there are still a few reasons why the U.S. Open should return to the Pacific Northwest at some point.
The setting was stunning
One thing there weren’t any complaints about was the actual setting of the golf course. Anyone who has been to the Pacific Northwest knows it’s one of the most beautiful regions in the country, with plenty of scenic golf courses.
Chambers Bay did not disappoint in that regard, offering fantastic views of the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains. It’s breathtaking in person and provided a nice backdrop for Fox’s first-time coverage.
Even Billy Horschel, who went on a long-winded rant about the greens, said it was the best setting he’s played at, beating out the likes of Pebble Beach. Plenty of courses throughout the region feature similar views.
There would obviously need to be some changes, but Chambers Bay and the Pacific Northwest can provide a U.S. Open setting like no other.
The local community embraced it
Both Washington and Oregon are among the most popular states for golf. That was reflected by the reaction of the local community leading up to the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.
Tickets sold out very quickly for the first U.S. Open to be hosted in the Pacific Northwest, and the volunteer list for the tournament was filled up in just 36 hours when it usually takes two weeks. Merchandise sales hit a new record high, eclipsing the previous mark set in Torrey Pines in 2008.
Even with the access issues and inability to see over stands and slopes, fans were still very loud and excited throughout the competition. The USGA wouldn’t have to worry about the tournament being embraced if it ever returned to the region.
Despite the complaints, the challenge made it entertaining
All in all, this year’s U.S. Open was one of the most exciting golf tournaments in recent memory. The U.S. Open is supposed to separate the best players from the rest, and that’s exactly what happened at Chambers Bay.
Watching the best golfers in the world take on the challenge of the difficulty the course provided was very entertaining. Overall, that’s good for the sport, and courses with some similarities would be welcomed.
That comes with the obvious caveat that the greens have to be in better condition. If the USGA can figure out that issue – and they should be able to – there’s no reason the tournament shouldn’t return to the region at some point.
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