U.S. Open at Merion
Can’t believe that it’s already the US Open – feels like the golf season just started.
When the US Open was last at Merion, it was in 1981 and the eventual champion – David Graham – played almost perfect golf in the final round and hit all 18 greens in regulation. But the legendary Open at Merion was in 1950, when Hogan hit his famous 1 iron shot on the 72nd hole to make par and be in a playoff the next day.
Yet my favorite, was in 1971 when Lee Trevino beat Jack Nicklaus in a playoff. The day before the playoff, Trevino wore his Sunday power suit – a red shirt and black pants. Tiger did not invent the Sunday red shirt/black pants uniform – that was Trevino’s innovation.
Trevino was innovative in a lot of ways. His golf swing was a thing of genius. He lined-up left of his target, took 3 steps to initiate his swing, then with a big leg drive, he dropped his hands down into the slot and pushed/blocked the ball at the target. His low fade was the most controlled shot on Tour since Hogan’s fade. And he could chip. Pretty good game for US Opens.
In fact, Trevino won 2 US Opens, 2 British Opens, and 2 PGA Championships – one of only 4 players to win 2 of each of those 3 Majors. He never won the Masters.
Augusta National is made for long, high-hitting drawers of the golf ball – the opposite of Trevino’s game. That’s no knock on Trevino nor the Masters. But Trevino has commented that his game would not win on the present day Tour courses that emphasize length over control. I think that’s a shame. The US Open is supposed to be about control. Merion is especially supposed to be that type of a test.
I hope that the rain hasn’t softened up the course so much that a bomber can win instead of a Trevino-like control artist.
GM and Head Golf Professional