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Course Insight MERION GOLF CLUB (EAST COURSE)


If it is true that great courses produce great champions, then by the record alone Merion Golf Club’s East Course is great indeed. Consider the players who have won major championships here: Ben Hogan, Lee Trevino, David Graham and Olin Dutra won U.S. Opens at Merion. Bobby Jones wrapped up his historic “Grand Slam” with a victory in the U.S. Amateur here. Jack Nicklaus dominated the 1960 World Amateur team matches, shooting a record 269 that left veteran observers shaking their head in awe. In all, this year’s Open will be the 18th USGA championship hosted by Merion. “The membership of Merion Golf Club is very excited and proud to have been chosen by the USGA as the host site of the 2013 U.S. Open Championship,”


said Merion’s championship


committee chairman, Bill Iredale. “We feel that our East Course is a very special venue, a classic golf course which, while lengthened some 400 yards to accommodate modern players and equipment, still retains the same shot angles, bunkering and greens that challenged Bob Jones in 1930, Ben Hogan in 1950, Lee Trevino and Jack Nicklaus in 1971 and David Graham in 1981.” “They’ve always had great holes, a number of


great layup holes where you weren’t using driver off the tee,” said David Fay, then the executive director of the USGA. “But they’ve been able to make their long, stout holes—the ones that have been known throughout history—they’ve made them really long. So I think they have adapted so well to the changing nature of the game.” Here’s a look at the finishing holes:


No. 16 Par 4 428 yards


This hole plays through the site of a former limestone quarry. It is a dogleg left and players have the option of bravely trying to drive over the quarry or lay up where the fairway wraps around the right side of the quarry. Coming into the closing stretch of holes, it is crucial to avoid the quarry, since many a promising round has come crashing down here.


on the final hole of regulation play in the 1950 U.S. Open. Peskin’s shot is quite simply perfect—as was Hogan’s. It set up a playoff the following day, which Hogan won by beating Lloyd Mangrum and George Fazio. Hogan’s victory came after a 1949 automobile accident that injured him so badly that few thought he’d ever play golf again, let alone championship golf. As he did so often in his life, Hogan made believers of the doubters.


No. 17 Par 3 220 yards The late Dave Marr, who won the 1965 PGA


Championship and for so many years graced golf telecasts on ABC Sports and NBC Sports, always played with balls marked with the number three. When asked why, he said: “Because three is always a good score.” That is certainly true on No. 17 at Merion, which


many people consider to be the course’s signature hole—although the course is so good that almost any hole would qualify. Players must hit a precise shot to a tiered green.


It is not enough to simply hit the green on 17— although in the pressure of a U.S. Open that’s no small accomplishment—but you have to leave you ball in the proper position if you hope to make par or possibly birdie.


No. 18 Par 4 463 yards The par 4 is one of the great finishing holes in golf and it is immortalized by Hy Peskin’s iconic photo of Ben Hogan striping a 1-iron to its green


Tournament Record 268. Rory McIlroy, 2011 (Congressional CC)


Tournament 18-Hole Record 63, Johnny Miller, 1973 (Oakmont CC); Tom Weiskopf, 1980, (Baltusrol GC); Jack Nicklaus, 1980 (Baltusrol GC); Vijay Singh, 2003 (Olympia Fields)


ESPN • NBC


Ticket Information www.usopen.com


108 PGA TOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE 2013


www.pgatour.com


© PGA TOUR/CHRIS CONDON; USGA/JOHN MUMMERT


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