US Open: Tiger's design influence

The inside story of Congressional Country Club

Bob Warters's picture
Tue, 14 Jun 2011

US Open: Tiger's design influence

Even though Tiger Woods will not be playing in the 111th US Open at The Congressional Country Club this week, he has still had a key influence in Rees Jones' re-design of the golf course.

The former world No.1, who has withdrawn because of a re-occurring knee injury, won on this course in the AT & T National he hosted but his four visits to the 494-yard, Par-4 11th hole, which has a stream down the entire right side of the fairway, resulted consecutively in bogey, bogey, double bogey and bogey.

Consequently, when asked his thoughts, he encouraged Jones to remove the bunkers that gobbled up balls that might have gone into the creek. The result is a fairway that is just two paces from the stream and a much more daunting tee shot.

Other notable holes include the second, ninth and 16th.

The 2nd, a 233-yard Par-3, will play the toughest and marks the beginning of a difficult three-hole stretch. The small, sloping green with a ridge running through it, is protected by six bunkers.

The 9th is a 636-yard Par 5, using a tee box 30 yards further back since Ernie Els won here in 1997. A deep ravine in front of the green filled with deep rough makes this a certain three-shotter to a green where two prominent ridges extend the dangers.

The last par-5 is the 16th (579yards) and is designed to create a risk-reward strategy with fairway bunkers in play to challenge the second shot. Any errant shot to this elevated putting surface will be penalised by the ball rolling several yards off the green.

Built in the 1920s by Devereux Emmet and re-designed by Robert Trent Jones in the late 1950s (and more recently by Rees Jones), The Congressional's Blue course has been made more interesting according to Jack Nicklaus, four times a winner at US Opens.

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