2010 US Open: Pebble Beach is all class

BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2010 US Open | Preview | 15 Jun 2010

The first official practice round of Championship week at the US Open at Pebble Beach was played this morning with many fans out early to get a glimpse of Tiger Woods. Woods played in the first group at 7.00am on a cool and foggy morning playing with Dustin Johnson and Arjun Atwal.

Pebble Beach has undergone several changes over the past year or so with several greens rebuilt, 16 bunkers either rebuilt altered or created, tees on 11 holes rebuilt or improved and several holes with trees either added or eliminated.

The net result is a golf course that now stretches just over 7000 yards compared to the 6840 yards in 2000. It is also a golf course that should – on paper at least – play more difficult than that which Woods won by a ridiculous 15 shot margin ten years ago.

The weather is expected to remain fine all week although with coolish temperatures around the late teens. As is the case with all seaside courses, wind will play a huge role although the immediate forecast suggests it will not be too unkind to this tournament. Many would still like it to play its part however.

The class of a USGA event and the smell of wealth in the area make this a fascinating combination and the fans who came early to see Woods and others go through their pre tournament regimes seemed to enjoy the opportunity. They were here to see the greats but many would not doubt have marvelled at the sights and sounds of this stunning location.

The crowds were not huge but they were impressive nonetheless and all got the chance to see Woods play at comparatively close quarters and with a certain amount of ease.

Woods’s first press conference is on Tuesday at 12 noon and at that time we will get to hear, or at least we hope we will, as to how the world number one is feeling about his game. He is under siege for his place at the top or world golf with a win by Phil Mickelson likely to end his lengthy reign.

Despite not yet a winner in this event, Mickelson deserves favouritism because of his recent run of form, his proven record at Pebble Beach and that he has been five times a runner up at this championship. The battle between the two and the spoils at stake may well be one of the highlights of the week.

Tomorrow the action heats up and so do the press conferences. Today there were just two, tomorrow there will be ten including that of Woods, Mickelson and Westwood the leading three players in the game and the three who are most talked about as the potential winners.

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    About the Author: Bruce Young

    A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of the game comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.

    Read all of Bruce's articles ยป

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