The USGA cut the tall rough on four holes at Erin Hills for the 2017 U.S. Open
U.S. Open

The USGA cut the tall rough on four holes at Erin Hills for the 2017 U.S. Open

Via Peter Uihlein/Twitter


The USGA decided on Tuesday the tall, deep fescue grass fencing in the holes at Erin Hills, site of the 2017 U.S. Open, had encroached too much on playable areas of four holes. So, the USGA cut portions of that thick fescue on four holes: the par 5s at Nos. 14 and 18, as well the par 4s at No. 4 and No. 12.

Of course, the first thought is that the USGA cut the rough in response to whining and lampooning alike from players about how comically tall and thick the stuff was just outside of the primary rough on the golf course. Kevin Na immediately came to mind, as the world No. 68 took to Instagram to show off and complain about how difficult it would be to play from the tough stuff.

Then there's Lee Westwood, who had some cracking fun pointed at the USGA by crawling out of the knee-high grass in a joke about retrieving his ball.

However, according to Golf News Net's Jay Flemma, the cut in the rough had nothing to do with the social media attention it was getting. Rather, as Flemma notes, the cutting was done in response to expected weather over the coming days of the championship, bringing the rough more likely into play if the wind picks up.

So, while the USGA may be criticized again for changing their minds and the course setup at seemingly the last minute, this move may well make a lot of sense and save a lot of penalty strokes and time come Thursday.

About the author

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]thegolfnewsnet.com

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