As you're watching the U.S. Open unfold at Chambers Bay, you'll find there's an enormous ditch in the middle of the fairway on the sometimes-par-4-sometimes-par-5 18th hole. It's there by design. That's the bunker known as the Chambers Basement.
After the 2010 U.S. Amateur, USGA executive director Mike Davis worked with original designer Robert Trent Jones Jr. to implement the 10-foot-deep bunker in time for the U.S. Open. It's right in the layup zone for when the hole plays as a 604-yard par-5, sitting some 120 yards from the center of the green. The field this week can thanks the members of the unpaid set five years ago that inspired the change.
"The new bunker on No. 18, that really had a lot to do with the decision to play the hole as a par 5," Davis said when the bunker was revealed. "The way it was, it was simply way too wide in the layup zone if they weren’t going for it in two. We looked at it and talked to the architects and said, what do we do here?"
It's the ultimate penalty. A player must go down nine steps -- a walk of shame -- to get to their ball. Once in the depths of Chambers Basement, the player has no perspective of the green. Pick a line, hit and hope.
Jones Jr. doesn't much care for the bunker. After all, he didn't originally conceive it. And while Davis loves the bunker, according to the Seattle Times, he doesn't think it's going to be relevant for this week's 156-player field.
Davis said, “I’ll be surprised if a ball gets in there.”