Mickelson Says Torrey Pines Is World’s Toughest Test

Phil Mickelson says that the winning number at the 2008 US Open will be well above par.

Next month’s U.S. Open course is the toughest in golf, according to world number two Phil Mickelson.

The American left-hander played at Torrey Pines South in California last week and predicted an over-par winning score at the second major of the season.

“Even if it’s soft I don’t think anything close to even-par will win,” Mickelson told reporters after firing a four-under 68 in the Wachovia Championship first round on Thursday.

“I think it’s the hardest course in the world, 7,600 yards at sea level.”

The 37-year-old Mickelson said the rough was particularly brutal, even by usual U.S. Open standards.

I played Torrey Pines from the back tees last summer and didn’t think that length was going to be the real issue at the US Open. While I’m sure that the Open will have “super back tees” behind even the ones we played, I managed to find enough fairways to shoot a decent score. I just took an extra shot to get to the green on every hole.

Torrey Pines is plenty long, but what really threw me was the grass. It’s not like anything we call grass in the midwest. If it grew on my local course, they’d call Michigan State for help and then hit it with RoundUp. The weed they call grass out there is a spongy, wiry growth that grabs your club and robs you of distance.

What that stuff will be like grown to US Open length in the rough boggles the imagination.

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3 thoughts on “Mickelson Says Torrey Pines Is World’s Toughest Test”

  1. I have the privledge of playing Torrey every weekend and have seen it at different conditions throughout the year.

    The prevalent talk of Torrey is its lenght. Believe it or not, that should be the 1/4 of your concerns with this course.

    1/4 Concern: Lenght
    What’s to say? It’s 7,600 yards at sea level.  Even worse, it’s by the sea, which makes your ball a little heavier.  You can go two miles in and get 5 yards more carry on your drives.  Couple that with some of the holes playing into the wind…good luck.

    2/4 Concern: Rough
    The writer had it right about the rough.  You have to remember, this course is right by the Ocean and therefore gets 365 days of some kind of moisture.  The roots grow strong.  The ball nestles like a bird’s nest.  The only club you are going to be able to get the ball out is a sand or lob wedge.  This stuff is ridiculous. Pray they shorten it up.

    3/4 Concern: Greens
    If they want, they can really bake these greens out and roll them like concrete.  The slopes are not drastic, but they can tuck the pins in areas where the even the pros will call them unfair.

    4/4 Concern: Winds
    This is the biggest x-factor.  Most of the time you see this course is early in the year for the Buick.  The winds are fairly calm that time of year throughout the day.  In June however, the winds swirls on the cliff side on the mid to late part of the afternoon.  The leaders who tee off later in the day will see a different course than the earlier times. I honestly would not doubt if the winner came from someone posting an early score.  The only reprieve is that the winds start laying down around 4:30 to 5:00 p.m.  Is this just enough time for the leaders to recover?

    We’ll see.


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