2019 US Open: Breezy conditions may impact play for final round at Pebble Beach
By Kyle Elliott, AccuWeather meteorologist
June 16, 2019, 1:42:06 PM EDT
Dry and breezy conditions will persist for the final round of the 119th U.S. Open at the Pebble Beach Golf Links on Sunday, challenging golfers with fast greens and rock-hard fairways.
Located on the Monterey Peninsula in California, Pebble Beach has hosted five U.S. Opens from 1972 to 2010. This will be the sixth time the U.S. Open has been held at the course.
In an interview with Golf.com, senior managing director of the United States Golf Association (USGA) championships, John Bodenhamer, said that weather conditions have made subtle changes in how the course has played at previous Opens at Pebble Beach.
In 2010, the last time the U.S. Open was held at Pebble Beach, Graeme McDowell held off Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson to become the first European champion since England’s Tony Jacklin in 1970. Johnson, the leader after the third round, struggled during the final round, allowing McDowell to capture the title.
McDowell was the only golfer to finish the tournament at even par after four rounds, with all others finishing the tournament over par.
Much like in 2010, this year’s Open is expected to be a difficult one as the golf course dries out and turns into a true test of skill for the best players in the world.
The last measurable rain at Monterey, California, occurred on May 26, and record-high temperatures baked the course last Monday and Tuesday as the mercury soared to 96 and 92 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively.
The unseasonable warmth during the first half of this past week may contribute to making the course harder and faster for the final round. Players may find it difficult to keep the ball on the fairways and greens.
“Similar to the other days of the tournament, low clouds will be around on Sunday morning, but these should break for mostly sunny conditions for the afternoon,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Tyler Roys said.
Temperatures are forecast to rise from the middle 50s F in the morning to the lower to middle 60s during the afternoon.
Winds will generally be out of the west-northwest at 7 to 14 mph but can still be gusty enough at times to impact how the players have to navigate each hole.
Although the Pebble Beach Pro-Am is held at Pebble Beach every February, the golf course will continue to play very differently than during that tournament.
The USGA has let the rough grow much longer and the greens become much faster in comparison to February.
They have also narrowed the fairways slightly in comparison to the last time the Open was held at Pebble Beach in 2010, according to the Associated Press.
However, John Bodenhamer, the senior managing director of championships for the USGA, thinks that the golf course is in the best condition he has ever seen.
In recent years, the USGA has come under severe scrutiny for losing control of course conditions at the venues the tournament has been held at.
Just last year, the last 45 players to tee off during the third round of the tournament at Shinnecock Hills failed to break par as gusty winds caused the greens to become virtually unplayable.
“One hundred percent of the time, they have messed it up if it doesn’t rain,” said PGA Tour star Phil Mickelson, who came under scrutiny last year after hitting a moving ball as it was rolling off the 13th green at Shinnecock.
Mickelson will again be trying to become the sixth golfer in history to win all four major championships during their career this week at Pebble Beach. He sits seven strokes behind Thursday's first-round leader, Justin Rose.
Tiger Woods has also lamented about how the Open has changed over the course of his PGA Tour career.
“I thought it was just narrow fairways; hit it in the fairway or hack out, move on. Now there’s chipping areas around the greens. There’s less rough...they try to make the Open strategically different,” Woods said.
Regardless of how players or fans view the recent U.S. Open setups, the USGA maintains its goal of making the Open one of the hardest tests in the game.
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