CHESTNUT HILL, MASSACHUSETTS | Curtis Strange had no idea. Granted, he had his hands pretty full trying to win the first of his consecutive U.S. Opens and stave off an equally hungry Nick Faldo in an 18-hole playoff at The Country Club in 1988. But five times Strange made the long walk from the eighth green to the ninth tee, never knowing why they were set a couple hundred yards apart.
“I knew that they skipped some holes,” Strange said of the composite course used for championships at Brookline since 1957. “When you go to a golf course for a major, everything is so framed with people and grandstands. Every time we played up there, from practice rounds on, the people are there so you never see. I don’t even know where the hole was to be honest with you.”
The short downhill par-3 12th hole was always one of three holes from the main course excluded in the championship routing, replaced by three holes from the adjacent Primrose nine. But in 2022, for the first time in a U.S. Open at Brookline since Francis Ouimet’s landmark victory in 1913, the wee par-3 will take its place in the routing when the championship returns to The Country Club after a 34-year absence.
The USGA’s primary reasoning for including it? “This is a really neat golf hole – let’s use it,” said Jeff Hall, the USGA’s managing director, rules and Open championships.
“First and foremost, it’s a really wonderful little short par-3,” Hall said of the 131-yarder. “As you look at golf out there today, there’s probably not enough of those types of holes. To have one on that property and be able to use it where it would make sense logistically from a routing standpoint, we’re just very excited to have that opportunity.”
The 2022 composite course will feature a routing never used before in any of the previous 14 USGA championships, two Walker Cups or the 1999 Ryder Cup held at Brookline. Since the 1957 U.S. Amateur – when the USGA was seeking more yardage – a composite championship course has excluded three holes on the main course to stretch the total length by 450 yards.
CLICK HERE TO READ THIS UNLOCKED STORY AT GGP+... AND USE COUPON CODE GGP48 TO SAVE 20% ON AN ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION