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US Open greens will lead to ‘war of attrition’

The US Open prides itself on being ‘golf’s toughest test’ and Tiger Woods is expecting another “war of attrition” this week at Pinehurst.

Only four players have ended under par in three previous US Opens held at the North Carolina resort’s Number Two course.

And this week’s 124th staging of golf’s second oldest major looks set to be equally as challenging, with the speed of the ‘upturned saucer’ greens a huge talking point.

Defending champion Wyndham Clark said on Monday they were already “borderline” in terms of being too quick to putt on, while three-time winner Woods said on Tuesday that, like many other players in practice, he had “putted off lots of greens”.

“It depends how severe the USGA wants to make this,” added Woods. “But I foresee, just like in 2005, watching some of the guys play ping-pong back and forth [across the greens]. It could happen.”

The United States Golf Association (USGA), which runs the US Open, will be keen to avoid a repeat of that, or what happened at Shinnecock Hills in 2004 and 2018 during a week when temperatures are forecast to be above 30C.

The USGA was accused of “losing the course” by Woods in 2004 after it failed to water greens after round two. Greenstaff were forced to hose down the putting surface on the seventh hole between groups in the final round because it had become largely unplayable.

In 2018 Phil Mickelson hit his ball while it was still moving on the 13th hole at Shinnecock as the USGA was again criticised over its course set-up.  –