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July, 2024

US Open 24

What a US Open that was!

The venue at Pinehurst really made such a riveting watch. Pinehurst played so tough, I don't think it comes across on TV just how difficult it plays! I spent some time filming with Andy and Piers from Me & My Golf last week and they were there with Aaron Rai during his practice rounds. They commented how you could rarely land the ball on the green as even at their level the ball would just run off the other side. As a result of just how firm and fast the green's were, you saw most of the players using Release-1 style chip shots, using less loft and bumping the ball into the slope to take the pace out of the ball and trickle it to the top and feed down to the pin.

This is such a great shot to work on, but I very rarely, if ever, see Amateur's working on this. Use your Release-1 Chip & Run technique and depending on the severity of the slope you may use something between a 6 iron and PW, the steeper the slope the less loft you would use. Also to help, visually consider where the 1st and 2nd bounces need to be and imagine how the slope will affect the speed of the ball. The more you can build a vivid picture of the shot before you play it is the key to these feel shots.

The US Open itself was incredibly dramatic, no one can say Bryson isn't absolute Box-Office to watch and he is doing so much for the game at a time when it needs unifying more than ever.

His bunker shot on the last was one of the shots of the whole week and to pull that off under the intense pressure was just amazing. I would always advise using less loft (even as low as a 9 iron) when playing that 60 yard bunker shot. You can set-up and play it as if it is a normal lie and the narrower sole of the 9 iron will skip the sand and without having to hit it much harder, the ball will want to run out more to the pin. Bryson however, had to use his most lofted club to get the height to carry the front slope and try and land the ball soft enough on the downslope on the green, which he did to perfection. To play this shot I would focus on putting lots of pressure through your feet but feel like you rotate your chest quicker through the sand.

Obviously Bryson capitalised on Rory's poor finish. Making 3 Bogey's in the last 4 holes to lose by one must be sickening. I really don't know how you could ever get over blowing a Major Championship in that manner, but he is very strong mentally and I am sure he will come back and contend again, hopefully at Troon.

The missed putt on 18 was understandable, he left himself a horrid putt, a downhill, quick, left to right putt is the stuff of nightmares, the low side miss could indicate a fear of missing on the high side through the break and he then started it too straight as a result. However, it was the 2 foot putt on 16 which was the real killer. It didn't look like it had much break and he just pulled his putt. In my experience of playing (of course I have never played in anything close to the pressure Rory has played in) but pressure is all relative, so am aware of thought processes when over the ball. I used to get negative thoughts such as 'don't miss it right' and questioning your read of the break. You then pull the putt as a compensation.

He then hit one club too many on the Par-3, again, being able to feel adrenaline pumping, likely to affect your carry distances. Taking one less club would have got him to the front edge and a straight forward 2 putt.

I really hope Rory gets a Major soon, but the longer it goes (now 10 years) the harder it will be and he is in danger of being talked about now as we talk about Greg Norman. Greg was an unbelievably good player, No.1 in the World for years, without doubt the best ball striker of his generation, but 'only' won 2 Major's, The Open Championship in 1986 and 1993. However, he should have won at least 6 Major's and really up to 10 Major's. He of course had a few Major's stolen from him with the Larry Mize chip in and Paul Azinger holing the bunker shot on the last.

I really hope Rory will come back from this and win The Open, he deserves a 10 Major career when he is finished, he won't be happy with just the 4.

Enjoy your golf this Summer and I hope we get some nice warm weather in the evenings to tempt you out on your course.

Play well, Dan