In case you haven’t heard, there’s a little quirk about Chambers Bay for this week’s U.S. Open. Both the first and 18th holes here can play as either a par 4 or a par 5 on the given day, and the USGA will change par on those holes at least once during tournament week.
It’s never been done before in a modern major championship, but USGA executive director Mike Davis is going to give it a shot.
On the card, the first hole is a 598-yard par 4 and the 18th is a 525-yard par 4. They run alongside each other in opposite directions, each sporting championship tee boxes that are about 100 yards apart. So why bother changing par and the distance by some 100 yards on each hole?
Well, that distance between the available boxes makes the holes play so differently that the USGA wanted an opportunity to showcase them and not be handcuffed by par. Not only does the distance difference make for a stark change in the nature of the hole, but the two potential dominant wind directions on the course create a pair of very different looks to the course. If it blows out of the northwest, as it did on Monday, then the wind plays left-to-right on 18 and right-to-left on No. 1.
What we don’t know is how Davis will set up the course against the wind that shows up. What we do know is that the course will play to a par 70 each day, making players consider the first and last holes a combined par 9.