After enjoying an early preview of Chambers Bay at the end of April, the Fox team has some on-course experience to draw upon as they prepare for the network’s first U.S. Open broadcast from Chambers Bay next week.
I caught up with Joe Buck (a low single-digit handicap), Brad Faxon and Greg Norman at U.S. Open media day to find out what they think of the course and what it will take to win at Chambers Bay.
"Chambers Bay is unique and dramatic. It has a bit of a wow factor, quite honestly. There’s no question that it favors a long hitter. Most golf courses nowadays, that's the case. Just look at the first hole here at Chambers Bay. Whether it's a par 5 or a par 4, it's 500-plus yards out of the gate, with a wide fairway. So [the long hitters] are going to have a chance to take advantage of it, for sure. The cross bunkers, they're all around 300 yards [off the tee]. Most of the bombers carry at 300, so they're going to pick up an extra 30, 40, 50 yards over somebody who can't carry it that far. We got some idea about how the USGA may set up the course, but every day is going to be different, Thursday through Sunday. So, [as analysts] we have to make adjustments on the fly. And that's what I like. And that's kind of what links golf courses are all about anyway, you’ve got to make that adjustment on the fly."
"It's a really hard walk. This is going be a physical test to go with the mental test of playing at the U.S. Open. I mean, the greens are crazy hard. But the golf course is gorgeous. I think you have to be a long hitter to play here and play well, because this thing is set up to be really long. If you're one of those guys who’s just relying on accuracy and great work on the green to win, I don't think you have any chance."
"[Chambers Bay] is the prettiest place I've ever been in my life. I think it's as dramatic-looking a golf course as I've ever seen. It's better than the pictures, especially when you have a blue sky. But it's so long. It's 7,800 yards. And there's going to be a variety of tees [Mike Davis] is going to use. I think it's going to be a really hard course to prepare for, for the players. They can't play enough practice rounds to know what's going to happen out here, what it's going to be like. But it's a bomber's course. I really think the guy that hits it far has a much better chance here thanthe guy who doesn't."