June 17, 2015
ADAM BARR: Good morning everyone. My name is Adam Barr, Senior Director of Communications for the United States Golf Association. Welcome to the 115th United States Open Championship and welcome to the Pacific Northwest. Before we begin let me introduce the members of the USGA. To my immediate left, Tom O'Toole, Jr., President of the USGA; Diana Murphy, Vice-President of the USGA and Chair of our Championship Committee; Mike Davis, Executive Director of the USGA; and Reg Jones, Senior Director of U.S. Open Championships. It's an honor to welcome over 900 members of the media representing 19 countries to Chambers Bay to for the first U.S. Open in the Pacific Northwest on this magnificent golf course. We appreciate your active participation in this week's activities. And now I'd like to turn things over to President O'Toole.
TOM O'TOOLE, JR.: Thank you, Adam. Good to see you all here this morning and as we embark on, as Adam said, the 115th playing of the United States Open Championship. And we've said this many times, probably worn all you out on this adage, but really to think that we did this 114 times and we have never been to this region I think bears repeating. And I know all of you have seen what we've seen, some of us have been here longer than others, but everywhere we go in this community they are charged up, they are excited. And these are people, by their own admission, who aren't even golfers. So let's kick this thing off with a wonderful press conference today, answer all the questions and inquiries that you all have and hear from our executive director and our chairman of our Championship Committee about how they plan to present this test to the greatest players in the world. And let's start tomorrow with a wonderful week. Let me digress for a moment, though, and open with a point about something that happened last night because this is an influential group. I know you heard reports about it, but we had the Bob Jones Award ceremony over at the Glass Museum in Tacoma last evening, an event that we moved a year ago to the week of our biggest production, the United States Open, to raise and elevate the identity of that fabulous award. And all of you at least I think know by now, we presented that award to a woman with unmatched style and grace and one of unparalleled generosity of spirit, Barbara Nicklaus. And I can tell you that those of us that were there, some in this room were also, that it was really one of the great nights ever in golf. The entire Nicklaus children there, Jack and Barbara, the commissioner of the PGA Tour, the general chairman of the committee of our partners at the R&A. It was really something to behold. So I'd encourage all of you to report that with the flare I know you will because, as I said, it was really one of the great nights ever in golf. The landscape here is, of course, inspiring. And we think befitting of our national championship. Another good story about what happened here on this reclaimed mining property, a park and a course that's shared by a community with unbelievable views of the Puget Sound, but more importantly a terrific sustainable development and one that I think fits perfectly into our environmental leadership. We, of course, extend great gratitude in connection with this community property with our partners in Pierce County. And all that they've done to advance and welcome this partnership in preparing for our championship. We look forward, of course, as I know all of you do, to the spirited competition that is around the corner and how Mike and Diana, as the chair, will challenge these great players in the world in what is we hope always a U.S. Open brand, a comprehensive test that you'll hear from them tests both the mental and physical capabilities of all the players on this really unique and unbelievable layout. I know you'll indulge me in my role today to thank those that made this dream a reality and made what's going to happen tomorrow morning something that at one time was a vision but now will be forever in the records as part of the U.S. Open lore. Of course, to begin with, the honorable Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington; our partners again at Pierce County led by their county executive, Pat McCarthy; of course her predecessor which I know Mike will have comments about, John Ladenburg and his involvement here; the City Council and the entire staff of the city community here of University Place; the architect of this wonderful U.S. Open challenge, Robert Trent Jones, Jr., and his entire team and the effort and relationship we had with them as we played the 2010 Amateur here through what will be presented tomorrow; Kemper Sports, which is the managers of this facility and ones that we interact with as they've presented many facilities for U.S. Open -- or USGA championships, they're led by president Josh Lesnik; and the hands and feet on the ground here, Matt Allen, the general manager here at Chambers Bay, and we've had a wonderful partnership with those at Kemper Sports. The USGA efforts led by the young man here in the front left doesn't need any introduction from any U.S. Open that's been conducted on the West Coast in recent memory, Danny Sink, who is our director of U.S. Open and the staff person in charge of what's happened here. Danny and his family have been here since he left The Olympic Club at the close of business in 2012. And Danny, we'd be remiss if we didn't publically thank you for all that you've done in what you see in what I call the production of the U.S. Open. Thanks for your efforts. And finally, another one of the firsts is our first -- not our first broadcast, but our first U.S. Open broadcast, with our new broadcast partners with FOX Sports. Let me set the record straight, ladies and gentlemen, this has been asked regularly to many of us at the USGA this week, we could not be anymore excited, anymore bullish on the leadership and the partnership that we enjoy with FOX Sports. The president of FOX Sports, Eric Shanks, is here this morning, Eric, thank you for being here, thank you for all that FOX as done. And ladies and gentlemen, you saw the roll out of the fourball championships, FOX will push this innovative envelope and that's exactly what we've asked them to do. And we're as excited as you are to watch the broadcast unfold tomorrow morning and I know all their talent and their producer, Mark Loomis, who is leading that, is as excited as we are, and hopefully you are, as well. Again, Eric, thanks for this fabulous partnership and our first U.S. Open effort starting tomorrow. I'm also honored, as Adam Barr indicated earlier, to share the stage with -- we may have some questions propounded of Reg, our senior director of U.S. Open championships, doesn't quite have a speaking role just yet, so it's my responsibility to thank Reg not only for his leadership, but he takes a campus like Merion that has particular operational challenges or he can come to a campus like this that is wide and expansive, but you have to build a whole complex. And I know most of you have heard me say this before, but ladies and gentlemen, this is the biggest production in championship golf. And it's led by Reg and we're fortunate to have him. He's absolutely the best in the business. Reg, once again, job well done.
REG JONES: Thank you.
TOM O'TOOLE, JR.: Finally, I'd just like to thank the 5,200 volunteers, the majority of whom are from the Evergreen State here in this region. Without the energy and service, we just simply could not conduct the U.S. Open championship. And I'll leave you with a little sideline or quip, formally it takes us about three weeks to 30 days -- three weeks to three months to assemble a host of 5,200 volunteers. Those volunteers were gathered in 36 hours in the Northwest. If that doesn't tell you how this region is charged up, but a special thanks to that group because, again, we just couldn't do it without you. And finally, to all of you, thank you for supporting and coverage of our most important asset, the United States Open Championship. Let us know if there's anything Adam and his team can do for you over the next several days. Now it is my distinct honor and privilege to introduce my good friend and chairman of the USGA Championship Committee, Diana Murphy.
DIANA MURPHY: Good morning. Thank you, Tom. Many of you probably know by now that all of us at the USGA believe that there's a lot to love about golf. And you hopefully have seen some of our promotions around that. I would say that there's never been more of a moment than where we are right now to celebrate why we think there is, in fact, a great deal to love about golf, about golf being here at Chambers Bay. We couldn't be more excited to work with this community to have this championship. And I think we're just all really anxious to get the game started tomorrow. But, again, we are very excited about this being the U.S. Open site for the very first time. And as Tom just mentioned, welcoming FOX as our broadcast partner. I also think that it's really important to pause for a moment and remind everyone about what is unique about the U.S. Open. It is, in fact, the only Open, the only golf championship that is open to all. And I think one of the most important ways of reinforcing that is what happened with our applications this year. We had almost 10,000 entries in the U.S. Open field this year, which was second only to one other event. It really was quite remarkable, particularly when you think about bringing it to the Pacific Northwest. That included local qualifiers at 111 sites, in 43 states throughout May, and then we had 12 sectional qualifying sites, ten of which were in the United States and one in Japan and in London. In total, 80 players, or 51 percent of the final field of 156 players, earned their way into this field through qualifying, with the remaining 76 players, or 49 percent, being exempt from qualifying. It really is a global field and the players represent actually 26 countries this year. We're certainly indebted to all the men and women in the state and regional golf associations because every year they help us qualify and conduct these qualifiers and really actually present what we think is the most democratic field our game produces. Among them we're also very proud to have 16 amateur players in the championship this year, which really is the most we've had in amateur players in 34 years. We're also pretty excited to say that several of those players actually are from the Pacific Northwest and, if you allow me, we'd like to recognize a couple of them in particular. Michael Putnam, who many of you know is from University Place, was born in Tacoma, has qualified for his fourth U.S. Open, was a member of the 2005 winning Walker Cup team. He actually played one of the very first rounds at Chambers Bay eight years ago and in fact will hit the first ball to kickoff the 115th U.S. Open tomorrow. We also would like to recognize Ryan Moore, who has won three USGA championships, certainly from this region, and he won in 2004 U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Amateur Public Links in the same year. We do hope because there is such a diversity of players in the field that you'll take the time to get to know all of these players and tell their stories because it really is quite a remarkable field and they have had a fabulous journey to get to this national stage. It is a history making championship. Tom mentioned several of our firsts. But in addition to being here at Chambers Bay and acknowledging FOX as our new broadcast partner, we have a couple other announcements that we'd like to make. First of all, I'd like to announce that the total prize money for this year's U.S. Open championship will be $10 million. I suspect by now you've figured out that we have enhanced our technological aspects to this championship and we welcome for the first time the mobile devices to The Open. We have had significant upgrades in our digital platforms, expanded all of our apps and encourage everyone to go to usopen.com. We also have 12 electronic scoreboards throughout the golf course, including the monster scoreboard on the 18th green that really I think will show a lot more information for all of our spectators here this week, with enhanced player statistics and live video feeds. It's really just a time for us to celebrate everything that all of the executives at Golf House have been doing last year for getting ready for what we believe to be a really exceptional U.S. Open. We're excited about bringing it all over the world and we're particularly excited to have all of you here to help us tell the story in the next several days. And so with that, I know you're probably a little anxious to hear from our executive director, Mike Davis, to give you a little bit more insight into what we're thinking about this championship. Mike?
MIKE DAVIS: Good morning everybody. First of all, let me start out by saying we're indeed ready. This is a moment, thinking back, I think I first visited Chambers Bay or it was called Chambers Creek at the time, some ten years ago. And looking over the fence into what was really a discarded old mine with some trash in it, some overgrown areas and big piles of sand, to think that roughly ten years later here we are with a national Open Championship really is amazing. But we're blessed with wonderful weather. It's not only been wonderful this week and with the forecast being great, but the month of May was terrific for our operations group setting up for the championship. It was really the driest and warmest I believe on record going back to 1850. But that's certainly had some benefits for the golf course, too. We've got a nice firm and fast golf course. We weren't truly -- we didn't know what to expect this year, coming in, whether it was going to be really a green view or now it's become more of a tan with some greens in there. But it's been great. And from a setup standpoint and really presenting the golf course for a championship test, we couldn't be happier. And we look at what's predicted the next four days, and we're obviously -- this is not a seaside course, although it kind of looks like it with the sound out there, but we will get some light winds. I think what's interesting is those will be shifting winds. We're going to start out tomorrow with little to no wind and in the afternoon get a little bit of light winds out of the west. And then Friday we're looking at some southwest winds, which is really the predominant wind here this time of year. What's interesting, that will start to shift, and by Saturday and Sunday we're going to see more of a northerly wind. I bring that up because these are not going to be real strong, I think probably a one-club wind, maybe one and a half at the very most with some gusts. But it will be interesting because it's going to show this golf course very differently. And from a player's standpoint, getting a southwest wind versus a north wind, some holes literally play almost opposite. Tom mentioned 120 years we haven't been here. Let me just say that the buzz in the Pacific Northwest is incredible. I've had so many people, and I know we have had people say to us, thank you for coming here. But we talk about the U.S. Open and this ultimately is -- it's a major. It's been around for 120 years. But this does, indeed, inspire golf at all levels. And that's been, I think, one of the things we've taken away saying this is crazy because we've heard so many people say you have really stirred up people's interest in golf in the Pacific Northwest. So we're happy. So let me talk to you just a little bit on architecture. One of the things that I think many of you probably heard from player interviews or just your own observations, you know, there's some that are absolutely effusive about this architecture. There are some that would say what are you doing in the United States conducting a British Open. There are others that don't know what to think, other than it's very unique. But what I will say is what we try to do at the USGA with all of our championships is to truly bring them to some of the best golf courses in the United States, and this indeed does qualify for that. It's very different. It's wide. There's more elevation change than any Open we've seen. It's got the firm and fast thing. To play on fine fescue, whether it's roughs, fairways or even greens, and being built on sand and in an area that really has very little humidity and we're not going to get rain, this is going to be a very, very different U.S. Open test. But a good one. And ultimately while it's going to be different, while it's esthetically going to be different, architect really different, we are going to remain true to really what a U.S. Open is and what it's been, which is a great comprehensive test of shot-making skills, course management skills, ability to handle your nerves, and I think truly anybody that's walked this, there's a bit of an endurance test, as well. So I'll also say that to come to a brand-new golf course is neat. And again, it goes back to -- one of the things that I think we should embrace here is that we come to new courses, we go to old courses. Think about next year at Oakmont Country Club, that will be the 9th United States Open they'll host and it's got all kinds of history. But this week we'll be making history here. We go to private clubs. We go to resorts. We go to in this case to a county owned golf course. So we're very proud of that. But ultimately it is about going to the finest golf courses in the country, moving it around different parts of the country, and ultimately staying true to that U.S. Open test. In terms of setup, while I can't tell you the exact numbers yet, I would guess the next four days we will play somewhere between 7,300 yards and probably around 7,700 yards, maybe 77 and change if we -- depending on wind conditions. So to put that in perspective, if we play the back tees on every hole, you would be over 7,900 yards. It was never our intent to play that long. You've seen by just probably player comments, but also observations, that that yardage in some ways is deceiving because you're getting a lot of run on fairways, which is terrific, which is one of the reasons we need to have a wider golf course here. But then you've got the elevation changes. So some holes that play uphill, the yardage is deceiving because it actually plays longer than it says on the card and vice versa. We've got some downhill shots here that you look at the scorecard saying why are they playing a 547 par-4, the answer is because it's so downhill, you can subtract 35 yards off of it. Lots of flexibility to setup this year, but I will say this, that I don't think -- I hope we don't overdo it. We want to make sure that it's indeed a good test. But one of the nice things about moving teeing grounds around, about mixing and matching with certain hole locations, with certain wind conditions, is that it ultimately does test the players' course management. And in some cases they're out there practicing. They anticipate some things we're going to do. There may be one or two things that they encounter that they didn't anticipate and that is part of the test. We want to see how they think on their feet, how their caddie thinks on their feet. And I will also say that I've been hearing a lot about this golf course being so flexible. It is. And the architects wanted it that way. So we are trying to showcase some of the features that the architects wanted. But at the same time, I will also say that there's a lot of flexibility on what the players can do. Oftentimes their shots, particularly some of the old traditional courses we go to, that you essentially have one way to play a shot. Here you may play a shot by bouncing a ball into the green. You may land it on the green, just shy and let it roll to a hole. Or you may use a sideboard or even hit it past the flag stick intentionally and use a backboard. There are a lot of options into greens. There are options even on the greens with some of the pronounced undulations they've got. And certainly there's options off the teeing ground. It won't surprise me that some holes you'll see a group of three, and somebody hits a driver, somebody hits a 3-wood and somebody hits an iron. And I think that's part of it. They're thinking through course management and we would give that a big thumbs up. The putting greens. Let me talk about a few things on that. First of all, from an architectural standpoint, these are really the largest we play for a U.S. Open. They're big. Big square footage. But given how firm and fast these are -- particularly the firmness, and also with some of the internal undulations they need to be big. And players need a chance to be able to work it off an undulation or be able to hit in the front and have it release to the back. The speeds this week will be somewhere between a 11 and a half and 12 on the Stimp meter. We think that's the appropriate speed for these greens given the architecture and the firmness. That's roughly what we had in 2010 for the U.S. Amateur and that speed seemed to work well. The greens are predominantly fine fescue. And this is a surface we have never played on in a U.S. Open for a putting green. Oftentimes it's poa annua, it's bentgrass, it's occasionally Bermudagrass. But this is new for us. And what's interesting is there are some things that when I started at the USGA some 25 years ago, I was told early on greens never speed up. Whatever they are in the morning, they're always going to get slower. We've been proven wrong here. These are actually speeding up a little bit as the day goes on. So we are planning for that. And in the morning probably don't have the greens quite as fast as what they could handle. So you might see the greens speed up anywhere from four to as much as eight, nine inches on the Stimpmeter. It's really interesting. We've seen this on fine fescue greens, whether it was in 2010 here or some of our championships played at Bandon Dunes down in the southern coast of Oregon, which is also fine fescue. One of the things that certainly has been -- some of the players have commented, the aesthetics of these greens. They look splotchy. Ultimately what we're after is how they play, how does the ball react when it hits it, how does it putt. Obviously we want them as smooth as they can. Some of the greens here, the majority of them, that do have some poa annua in it, and particularly it's the annual type that tends to seed. For the last couple of weeks, we have done a marvelous job, the ground staff, the superintendents, as well as our own green section, to mitigate, so we don't have as much bounciness. But again going back to these are the opposite of what they've always thought. In the morning after they've gotten a drink of water the previous night and even that morning, they tend to be -- if there's going to be any bounciness to them, it's going to be in the morning. And as the afternoon goes on, they get smoother and smoother. And ironically with these things, when they get dry, and we had them last week nice and dry, they roll very smooth. So we've been balancing that smoothness knowing that we do have to water as part of the firmness to have the greens play properly in terms of shots being hit into them. Hole locations, a lot of diversity given the size of these greens and the undulations. So with those we do try to mix and match with certain teeing grounds or certain wind conditions. So those we really look at on a daily basis. In large part just given what we have forecasted for weather. The last point I'll make is that there's certainly been some observations, some talk, about what is the definition of these putting greens here. I can't tell the putting green from the closely mown around the green or even from the fairway. First of all, the reason that is is because it is all the same grass here at Chambers Bay, whether you're looking at the rough, whether you're looking at the fairway, the teeing grounds, the putting green approaches or on the putting greens, it's all fine fescue. As I say there's some poa annua in the fairways and in the greens, but that's why they look the same. And one of the reasons you're seeing some areas with a different color than other areas is simply because fine fescue and poa annua are very different colors. We played U.S. Opens and championships all the time where poa annua and bent, but those are virtually the same color, so esthetically you really can't tell. At the end of this, we're very pleased with what we got from a smoothness standpoint and we're pleased from a competitive standpoint from firmness that we got it right. I will tell you at this point in time given the forecast, we've had by far the biggest concern that we've got for this championship, I say concern, but I guess our biggest focus would be managing the firmness. It is such a great thing to be in this position. You kind of wake up and you dream of this saying, let us control it, don't give us a bunch of water so they're throwing darts at the greens. And we've got it. But now it's our job to make sure we manage that firmness appropriately. We want to see a correct amount of firmness where balls hit, they release, but at the same time we're not looking for balls -- well struck balls to hit in the front of the green and bounce the whole way over. You might be downwind and play it short of the green, but that's our biggest thing. So we are focused -- have a heavy focus right now on water management. We've been watering fairways on an evening basis, teeing grounds. That's why you come out in the morning and look, there's actually a green hue to this golf course. Go out in the afternoon and that green hue is probably gone away given the low moisture and the sunshine we've got. But on the greens is most important, so we probably on an average green take 30, 40 measurements for moisture in all different areas. We are using a firmness reader, a true firm that our engineers at the USGA developed. And hand watering. So it's our hope to be able to manage the entire day. Obviously you are going to see the conditions in the morning be a little softer than what they're going to be in the afternoon. But that's the way we have to manage. Last topic I want to mention is pace of play. There's certainly been some discussion about what is this U.S. Open, particularly Thursday, Friday, going to be like from a pace standpoint. We have put down our pace time for a group of three, Thursday, Friday at four minutes and 45 -- excuse me, four hours and 45 minutes. Folks, that is for the first couple groups in each wave. We don't expect the middle of the wave to possibly be able to play there because if you do your math, with 156 players, we can't get everybody around -- if we could start at 6:00 in the morning and play until 10:00 at night and everybody go off one tee and go at 13 minute intervals, everybody could play the same time. But it mathematically doesn't work. What we try to do is keep those lead groups moving. And we think 4:45 is a very reasonable time. I will also tell you that there's a lot of research that goes into this. We have this year 21 minutes worth of walking time between greens and tees. Put that in perspective. Last year at Pinehurst, we had 13 and a half minutes. Merion the year before 11 minutes. So we had to add some time to that. And then obviously it's a U.S. Open. It's a tough test of golf. But we feel that this is an appropriate time. And ultimately we do have a walking referee with each group. We're going to be proactive with it. We've got PGA Tour officials and European Tour officials here with us to help with the pace of play. They do that on a weekly basis. We will be proactive with a call up policy on if we need it on par-3s or par-4s or par 5s that might be able to hit -- in the case of par-4s, drivable, and par 5s in 2. We will use that on an as-needed basis. We all know this is a tough walk in Chambers Bay. In closing, let me offer up a couple of things. First of all, I see them in the back of the room, Eric Johnson and Josh Lewis. Guys, raise your hands. Those are the two superintendents here. And folks, I cannot give them enough accolades. First of all, they're fescue experts. They came up from Bandon Dunes and they have done a marvelous job on this. And I don't know where we'd be without you. They work very closely with our own green section experts, Darren Brevard is our championship agronomist and Larry Gilhuly, who lives just over the water in Gig Harbor. Guys, thank you. The last person I want to thank, and Tom O'Toole mentioned him, was John Ladenburg. I hope he gets his credit. This was the county executive at the time that came up with his vision to take this old mine and turn it into something that will in theory in perpetuity always be here. And it's a park. There's walking trails. But it's also a golf course. If you think about it, this is going to be a golf course that not only the locals will enjoy about I'm sure there will be people from around the country, even world, come to it. And it's going to be very sustainable, it's environmentally friendly. We're excited. With that I'm going to turn it back over to Adam for any questions you might have.
ADAM BARR: Thank you, Mike, Tom and Diana, as well.
Q. Mike, I actually want to ask about Erin Hills. I'm curious, do you find a lot of comparisons with this property and Aaron?
MIKE DAVIS: Well, good question. So Erin Hills is up in Aaron, Wisconsin, outside of Milwaukee, where we'll hold the U.S. Open in two years from now. There are a lot of comparisons in the sense that the USGA started looking at both sites at approximately the same time. They're both fine fescue fairways. They both sit on very sandy soil. But that's maybe -- well, they're both open to the public. And that's maybe where the similarities end. Because at Erin Hills, this was just an incredible piece of property that the architects there didn't move much of anything. They just tried to use this wonderful piece of land that was really pushed up by the glaciers a few thousand years ago versus here, this is all man-made. If you had seen this property when it was just piles of sand, everything you see out there, even though it looks natural is man-made. So I think from that standpoint couldn't be further apart. But they're both wonderful tests of golf for the U.S. Open.
Q. Mike, there have been players in here that said in the morning the greens are going to be faster than the afternoon because the poa is going to grow. You said that it's going to be completely opposite.
MIKE DAVIS: Well, I don't want to -- how do I want to say this -- (laughter) -- let me just say that we do have the facts that will prove that when the poa gets drier there's less friction with it, so the greens do indeed get faster in the afternoon. This is something, as I said, we just do not see this on other types of grasses. But it's not going to be substantially faster, but we're mindful of it.
Q. And one other thing, a lot of players have said it all depends what Mike wants. We don't know what kind of golf course we're going to get. It all depends what Mike wants. Is that a good thing? And are you happy about having that ability?
MIKE DAVIS: Well, let me say it this way, that comment bothers me in the sense that it's not all me. We have Diana to my right is chairman of the Championship Committee. There are a lot of people part of this team. So it is not one person that does this. It truly is a team that includes our greens section and a lot of people think about this and ultimately come up with a plan. So trust me, I'm not in a vacuum by myself on this thing. But there is a lot of flexibility to this course, so we can do a lot of things with the setup. And we, I underscore we, not I, will do that, but in hopefully a very reasonable way.
Q. Kind of the same question, because people think you are going to have as much to do with the outcome as any player, kind of like the Wizard of Oz being behind the curtain. Do you feel any pressure with that and what is going to be the general philosophy of the setup?
MIKE DAVIS: Interesting, I would say the pressure comes from making sure the golf course plays properly. But I think we feel that same pressure, we felt it last year at Pinehurst, we'll feel the same pressure next year at Oakmont but it's different from year to year. Here we've got more unknowns, just because we haven't been here. At Oakmont next year, we have a really good idea what's that is going to play like if it's wet, what it's going to play like if it's windy or dry. And here, as I say, we just don't have as much history to go on, and for that reason I think we really do have to be a bit more cautious. We learned a lot of things from the U.S. Amateur in 2010. And granted that was an August event. It was a match play event, but nonetheless we learned a lot of things that we've come into this conservatively particularly when it comes to how we're handling water. So right now I don't think we have an overly firm golf course, but we definitely have a firm -- it's firm but I don't think we're at that point where we think we're going to lose it.
DIANA MURPHY: If I may add to that, Mike, I think to answer your question about what is the philosophy, it certainly is to have a very fair test of both their physical and their mental capabilities. And that's really what we're trying to do.
Q. I assume when you gave the rough green speed of 11.5 to 12, that's after it speeds up a little in the day, the morning cuts have been different. The real question is can we expect to see -- when you're monitoring this, can we expect to see some watering in between times? Really what are the metrics for what counts as you've got it under control or you're losing it. What's that indicator?
MIKE DAVIS: Well, we will not be watering during the play. We do that it when the health of the grass is in question. So sometimes -- I can think of Southern Hills when we were in Tulsa with bentgrass where we did water between the morning and afternoon waves simply because that bentgrass needed to stay healthy. In this case we're dealing with fescue that you could turn the water off for a couple of weeks and it would just go dormant. In terms of how we're viewing things, whether it's, as Diana said, indeed, a fair test. We want it to be a stern test, but you do want shots that are well executed to be rewarded. Now, there's certain things that I suppose players would argue, saying, look how it hit that undulation and it went to the right. I'm not sure the USGA can necessarily control that, because that's more of an architectural feature. If you take, for instance, the third hole or take any of the par-3s, I would say from a firmness standpoint we are probably more worried about those -- worried is not the right word, mindful of those, than some of the other holes. Because if you think about -- I'll use 3 as an example, that's kind of a redan type design par-3, that if you can't get it to the green it's going to roll back down the hill towards the teeing ground and into a bunker. If you land on the green, which the highest point is really the top right and then it feeds to the back left, and all of a sudden it's like a rock and bounces over the green. In other words, you can't -- doesn't matter what shot you play, that's not what we want. And we saw a little bit of that in -- not a little bit, we saw a lot of that in stroke play in the U.S. Amateur. So that's the type of thing. Now, listen, if a player is playing downwind, he may not be able to play to the green. He may need to play short, but that's the type of thing we're looking at in terms of overall fairness. We want it to be firm. We want the players to have to think about where is the ball going to bounce, where is it going to roll.
Q. Mike, we know the USGA is expert at separating the top players from the field. But there's kind of a debate this week as to whether this course will favor players who can carry the ball 300 yards off the tee, and then there's the group that say they see it as a second-shot course. How do you see it?
MIKE DAVIS: I've heard that, too. And I'm not sure I know. There are certain holes that if you can carry the ball a certain distance, you absolutely get an advantage. But I would say this, if you think about the yardage being, let's say, somewhere between 7,300 and 7,700, as firm as this is, it strikes me that even the shorter hitter is not taken out. They can absolutely win this championship if he executes properly. But I do think -- each year we would say if you have the ability to hit the ball a long way and control your golf ball, you're always going to have an advantage. And you should have an advantage. We don't want to take that away. But to answer your question, I don't ultimately know what to think. I do think it's way more than just somebody who bombs it. This is a shot maker's golf course, because you may bomb it and have two or three clubs in less. You may hit it over a hummock that other players can't do. But ultimately it's getting your ball in that four and a quarter inch hole. There's a lot to it. It's where you land, your trajectory, spin rate, do you want to curve it, do you want to hit it into a sideboard. There is a lot of thought that goes into it. I would not call it a bomber's paradise.
Q. Because the USGA kind of partnered in the development of this, do you have enough invested in it that no matter what happens this week that you might just fine tune it, come back, and you want to come back here at some point?
MIKE DAVIS: Well, I will say this, and certainly Tom and Diana can jump in, as well, it would be fair to say that anytime we're bringing the national Open Championship somewhere, we're never going in with an attitude of one and done. We're just not doing that. But we will assess how things go, both from a competition standpoint. But the fellow to my left, who really makes everything happen outside the ropes, will do a big evaluation of how it worked onsite, how parking and traffic worked, how cooperation with the county, the state, et cetera went. So we do that every year. But I will say this, that we will make a lot of notes from this championship inside the ropes. We will make notes about what worked, what didn't work, what we would change differently. Trust me, we will absolutely, positively make mistakes this week with setup, but hopefully those are somewhat minor mistakes. I've never seen a championship inside the ropes where there wasn't some mistakes made, where if you said if I had to do it over again, I would do this. It's a big piece of property. We're coming into this thinking we're going to have a great Open and sure, we'd love to come back.
Q. Just to expand on your earlier discussion, could you take us through the thought process of like which tee you would determine to use on No. 9?
MIKE DAVIS: So No. 9 is interesting. That would be an example when we played the U.S. Amateur here in 2010, we didn't think under championship conditions it worked with the various hole locations on that green, because you're dropping -- it's essentially from that top teeing ground, you take off almost 35 yards in terms of distance. And what we found are certain hole locations on that green did work well. I mean, for instance, the back right. It worked beautifully. Because you hit on the green and it would feed to it. But in that case, when you're playing up top and the front, it just wouldn't work at all. So that was a case where we just felt that it was such a severe drop in the way the green was -- the architecture in it, that coming in from another angle might be a very good thing. And we're quite pleased with how that's worked out. So we like the option of playing from both up and down. And I've never seen anything like this where you had the same hole but it's a completely different hole. It's truly like we've got five par-3s out there this week?
Q. Mike, when will the players learn what you're going to do with the 1st and 18th holes with pars there. And more generally, you've got so many different tee box locations throughout the course, will they learn that before they arrive to play? Do you know now what it's going to be?
MIKE DAVIS: We have made that decision on 1 and 18. But they'll learn tomorrow morning. I know that there's probably some saying, why did you change up the par 1 and 18, what gives? I would say that we went into the 2010 U.S. Amateur trying to determine whether we liked 1 better as a 4, 5 and 18 as a 4, 5. And the way the architects designed the holes, truly they did it with flexibility in mind. And we looked at it and said these holes are great played as both a 4 and a 5. They're two completely different drive zones if both holes played 4 and 5. The greens can be very severe and almost add the element of risk and reward with hole locations. The bunkering is different. We went into that thinking this is going to be the right thing to do. There's going to be a hundred yard difference playing between a 5 and 4 on those holes. We'll have other holes where it will actually be more than a hundred yard difference, but we won't change the par. Think of it this way, those two holes are really a par 9, but we're going to give that trophy to the lowest 72-hole score. Whatever the par is in some ways is irrelevant. But in terms of the rest of the teeing grounds, many of these -- the players this week have already been practicing from different teeing grounds. I think they know it. They may not have gotten everyone, but they know we're going to move things around.
Q. Mike, most of the players are talking about the ability to prepare properly, because of the size of these greens. They would need to know the hole locations because the greens are so difficult to understand. Could you explain what USGA's policy is why they wouldn't disclose the hole locations before tomorrow for the first round? And secondly, can you explain the theory why you went to a $10 million purse? Did it have anything to do with your new TV contract?
MIKE DAVIS: On the hole location one, I'm unaware of any championship that gives their hole locations out ahead of time. I think that, number one, that takes away that element I talked about, about planning your course that day. And then also, you know, if they knew the exact hole location for all four days, they'd do nothing but practice that hole location. And I'd say that's not what we want the test to be. We want them to actually have to look down with their eyes and figure out, okay, let me think about how this breaks versus knowing in advance exactly what the break is. That is course management and the ability to think on your feet and read the conditions is all part of course management and really the mental test. And then I'm going to turn over the other one to either Diana or Tom, in terms of the purse.
TOM O'TOOLE, JR.: I think we've never had the U.S. Open be about the purse. We want to be competitive. And yes, we did enter into a wonderful new TV contract with our partners at FOX Sports. We want the purse to be competitive among other major championships. But we've never, ever made the U.S. Open about the purse.
Q. I wanted to know what the firmness meter is, who developed it and how it works. Never heard of one of those.
MIKE DAVIS: Sure. The firmness meter, which we call a true firm, it was developed by our engineers at the USGA equipment standards. So those are the people that test balls, clubs and what we call artificial devices. And we wanted a way to essentially simulate what happens when the ball hits a green. And if you think about it this way, we've all played golf where it's soft greens after rain. And you get a big ball mark, may go down half an inch. There's times out here this week where it doesn't even make a ball mark, you can't see an indentation because they're firm. So what we've done, and this goes back, we've been using this for, I'd say, 10 to 12 years, is we'd go around to different parts of the green, we'd do it in the morning, we'd do it in the evening, and in this case once the competition begins. We simulate, it's basically dropping a -- almost -- well, I need our engineers up here to explain it. But it is basically measuring the coefficient of restitution, how much bounceback you get. And that really correlates with what happens when the ball lands. It doesn't take into case is it going to be downhill when it hits it or uphill or downwind or into the wind. But it really gives us along with moisture readings in the green, an idea of is this green going to receive a good shot but not be overly soft where, again, they're throwing darts, if you will. So it's a great tool. Setting up a golf course truly is part science and it's part art, I guess, if you want to say this. And this is a huge help for us. We're really measuring the bounce.
Q. With bringing the U.S. Open to a course like Chambers Bay and Erin Hills in a few years, I know you say it's going to be a U.S. Open test, but these are more nontraditional venues, and I know there are venues slated for the next seven years or what have you, do you foresee the trend of bringing the U.S. Open to courses like Chambers Bay and Erin Hills and other unknown places in the future?
MIKE DAVIS: That question is very interesting in the sense that here's what I would say: Coming, as I mentioned before, to some of this country's greatest golf courses is very important to us. Moving the national championship around is important to us. If you think about this country, America, and compare it to other countries around the world, you could make a really good argument that no country in the world even has close to as much diversity of golf courses as we have. We have mountain golf courses, seaside golf courses, we have golf courses built on sand, on heavy soil, golf courses that are warm season grasses like Bermuda and kikuyu, and we've got cool season grasses. And I think we should celebrate that and USGA does celebrate that by moving them around. And then to go to public courses, private courses that are old, historic, is important, too. So we really do try to have a blend of golf courses, where I think when we find a new golf course that fits and that is special, that's important. But this is a different golf course. The word unique is used a lot. But it's still going to test shot making skills. It's still going to test recovery skills, short game skills. It's going to take course management. You're going to have to deal with the pressure of a U.S. Open. So all those things are very important, because we don't want to lose the identity of what a U.S. Open test is.
Q. You mentioned the number of unknowns at a place like Chambers Bay. How would you compare the level of anxiousness that you feel entering the opening round with some of the other setups that you've overseen over the years?
MIKE DAVIS: I think to be honest there is some anxiousness, but there's excitement, too. That, to me -- I'm more excited than anything. I'm so ready to get this thing going and see what happens. Years and years ago thinking about how we're going to set this up and as they get closer you really get down and fine tune how you're preparing it agronomically and water management. But there's that element you never quite know everything. And listen, we don't know how the players are going to perform, really. There could be a run away like Tiger Woods winning by 15 strokes in 2000. Or look what Martin Kaymer did last year. Or it could be nip and tuck right to the end. That's the players that determine that, not the USGA. I think one of these great, old wonderful historical Opens, think of the 1913 Open at the country club with Francis Ouimet. Great course there, but it was the drama of the players. The 1960 Open that Palmer -- I mean, we could just go through history. So it really will ultimately on Sunday, or if we have to go to Monday for a playoff, it's going to be determined by what the players ultimately do -- I shouldn't have brought the P word up (laughter).
ADAM BARR: Thank you all very much. Have a great U.S. Open week.
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