Well this major has crept up on us!
Like the infamous Chambers Bay, Erin Hills will be a big talking point, but for all the right reasons - it's a stunning layout that's certain to test the greatest our game has to offer.
Situated 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee, the 7,812-yard, par-72 track takes pride in utilizing the natural shapes of the land, which makes for tricky lies and stances. It boasts a course rating of 77.9 and a slope of 145 (those are Kiawah numbers). During Open, the course will play 7,693 yards which is actually not the tips for the course.
Erin Hills opened in 2006. relatively unknown designers Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry and Golf Digest course editor Ron Whitten built a course with the goal of hosting a U.S. Open someday. There have been some trying times, but finally the dream has become a reality.
The course hosted the U.S. Amateur in 2011, with Kelly Kraft edging a young Patrick Cantlay. Since then Kraft has been a battler, while Cantlay has endured endless back issues and losing his caddie in a tragic car accident, there's no doubting his talent, he's potentially a Spieth type guy, mentally strong and a great putter.
Erin Hills is a public course, green fees start at US$280 plus tax and caddie. Its an interesting fact that the course was designed to be a walking only course, thus no cart paths, making the course ahead of its time, many modern designs intentionally avoid cart paths, Pinehurst #2 springs to mind. We have 2 no cart path courses in New Zealand, Tara Iti and to some degree Windross farm (in the authors opinion cart paths are so 80's and need to be taken out of courses like Wairakei).
This is also just the sixth public course to host a U.S. Open championship. Others include Chambers Bay, Bethpage, Pebble Beach, Pinehurst and Torrey Pines.
Things your will see...
Wind - there will be wind - no doubt.
Rough - deep thick fescue.
Craggy bunkers - you will see some ugly lies and stances.
Grumpy millionaires - The pros are already complaining.
So who's going to prevail, its hard to look past DJ the way hes been driving the ball. Jordan Spieth has played here before so will have a jump on many of his peers. Rickie Fowler is in good touch, sooner or later he will convert.
How about a couple of under the radar guys? Patrick Cantlay is on this list, as is Kevin Kisner having won this year and hes as tough as nails.