Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Power Stays in Bag Young Generation of Golfers Who Rely on Their Driver Might Have to Scale It Back This Week around Oakmont Country Club to Keep Ball in the Fairway

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Power Stays in Bag Young Generation of Golfers Who Rely on Their Driver Might Have to Scale It Back This Week around Oakmont Country Club to Keep Ball in the Fairway

Article excerpt

Reigning U.S. Open champion Jordan Spieth believes the key to defending his title will be to stay on the fairway as much as possible, even if it means keeping his driver in the bag.

He's not alone. Spieth and a number of his peers have said they plan to ditch the driver on several holes to try to avoid Oakmont Country Club's thick rough and deep bunkers.

It's a peculiar strategy for a young generation of golfers that has risen to the top of the world rankings with their power game.

"We always say each and every week, it's a bomber's course," Jason Day, currently the top-ranked golfer in the world, said. "For the most part, it's a bomber's game, our generation. It's not like that this week."

Day said golfers who dial it back, perhaps by teeing off with an iron, will put themselves in better position. Day, who currently ranks 20th in the world in average driving distance, said he planned on limiting himself to using a driver only four or five times in a round.

Several other powerful golfers, such as reigning Masters champion Danny Willett, four-time major winner Rory McIlroy and 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott, echoed Spieth and Day's assessments.

"With the caliber of players here and whoever's in form this week, I think the guy Sunday who goes out and hits the fairways is going to give himself the best chance for the most birdies," Scott said. "You're going to make some errors, but you're going to have to be in the short grass to make enough birdies."

But this strategy has not always paid off at Oakmont. Spieth noted that in 2007, golfers who hit the fairway were not as successful as he expected. Of the fifteen golfers who hit the fairway at a frequency greater than 60 percent, only two also finished in the top 10 in the tournament - a statistic, he said, that "shocked" him.

"I mean, that goes against everything I've been saying, which is you've got to put the ball in the fairway off the tee here, or else it's so hard to just hit it around the green, let alone on the green," he said.

And in the 1994 U.S. Open at Oakmont, Ernie Els hit only six fairways in the 20-hole playoff yet still walked away the champion. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.