Pebble Beach Will Provide Difficult Challenge For 2010 U.S Open

June 15th, 2010-  By Bryan Cross

Each year, the PGA Tour descends upon Pebble Beach Golf Links for the annual Pro-Am in February.  As per the usual, the tournament took place back in February with Dustin Johnson claiming the tournament.

However, when Johnson and the rest of the 156-player field tee it up on Thursday for the playing of the 2010 United States Open, they will see a vastly different course, with tighter fairways, thicker rough, longer holes and quicker greens.

In sum, they might as well be playing on a completely different course.

That is to be expected however, as it is the U.S Open, widely perceived as the most difficult challenge players will face all year long.

“Completely different from February,” remarked Johnson, who is actually the two-time defending champion at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. “This is going to be fun. This is going to be a challenge.”

Johnson played in a practice round on Monday with Tiger Woods, winner of the U.S Open in 2000 when it was last contested at Pebble Beach Golf Links.  There, Woods won by a U.S Open record 15-shots, in arguably the greatest Major Championship performance in history.

Johnson will have to navigate his way across Pebble Beach again, with everyone having to hit the ball a little straighter, a little father and with a little more precision.

After the practice round with Woods, Johnson remarked how much more the ball moved once it got on the ground.

“Any time the ball is bouncing, the ocean is in play more,” he remarked. “I don’t hit driver as much.”

Every few years, there are complaints relating to the set up of golf course by the United States Golf Association, as it is perceived as too difficult.

Ernie Els is a two-time winner of the U.S Open (1994, 1997) said that Pebble Beach has the look and feel of a U.S Open.

“This course right now is ready for the U.S. Open,” remarked Els. “It’s not tricked up. They’ve done a good job. The bunkers are not plugging. I don’t think anyone will be complaining.”

Els is grouped with Woods and Lee Westwood for the first to round of the tournament on Thursday and Friday.

The South African said that is the course remains the way it is now, there will be some opportunities out there to score.

“Yes, if they can keep the course the way it is now,” he said. “The weather, obviously, can change. We had only a light breeze today. But if the greens get white, we’re going to have some problems.”

USA Online Sportsbooks favor woods and No.2 ranked golfer Phil Mickelson to win the 2010 United States Open, with Els and Westwood following in the line of betting favorites.

Coverage of the U.S Open will begin at 3pm Est on ESPN and will be broadcast on NBC for weekend coverage in prime-time.

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