Perhaps you’ve heard that there is some controversy about the greens at Chambers Bay.
Well, as you watch the final round of the 115th U.S. Open today, expect to see more of the same.
“We watered with the interest of trying to maintain the same firmness that we’ve had every day,” Darin Bevard, a senior agronomist for the USGA, said around midday.
“The concern becomes with the hot sun and the high temperatures how much they dry out. But there’s not much wind now — the wind has dropped, and also the fact that we had cloud cover until 10:30 or 11 o’clock: We should be OK in that regard. But they should be very similar: speeds and everything.”
In any case, the work is now largely done This isn’t a baseball game, where the grounds crew can run out and to a little cleanup in the middle innings.
“It’s an extreme situation where we would do anything in play,” Brevard said. “It would have to be from my perspective that, hey, if we don’t do something the greens are going to die. And that’s just not an issue. I know that they don’t look like what people are used to. But while we water for firmness, we also water for turf health as well. It’s not just for playability. I would not anticipate having to do anything of that nature.”
Several observers — and players — have noted that the play issue is separate from the aesthetic issue, and you discoloration — especially on TV — doesn’t always predict a problematic putting surface.
“I was interested watching on television, watching them play No. 9 just a little while ago,” Brevard said. “That front-left hole location on nine was very, very good turf; and it looks like it’s just not on television because of the contrast of the green and the off color. It is what it is how it shows up, but it’s just amazing because the grass there is really good.”
Conversely — and most significantly as the Open championship plays out — some of the dangers on the green aren’t always easily visible.
“The greens are so firm they cannot see the ball marks to repair them,” Brevard said. “They’re there, but they’re not like what you’re used to. And while we have teams that go out – with the low sun angles you can see them like craters all over – and we have teams that go out in the evening and the morning and try to repair the ball mark. But I think that contributes to some of the bumpiness in the greens as much as the poa annua and the fescue as well.”