The 2017 U.S. Open tees off on Thursday at a first-time major championship venue, Erin Hills in Erin, Wisconsin. Jungle Icon and 1995 PGA Championship winner Steve Elkington joined The Jim Rome Show Monday on CBS Sports Radio and shared his thoughts on what to expect from the course with a rumpled Wisconsin landscape golf venue.
“They got four par fives. It’s a monster course. It’s going to play 7,700 yards long,” Elkington said.
But Elkington said the course is very convoluted with vast challenges and high grass all around.
“The greens look alright. I went out to the course today, and first of all, mate, it’s hard to find where I’m supposed to be, and I would consider myself excellent at finding my way to the holes, normally speaking, like where’s one, where’s eight,” Elkington said. “I walked out in the middle of the course, I’m just struggling out there, I’m walking in waist high hay out there trying to get out. It’s not cut that good for the spectators.”
Elkington said the big hitters who can keep their ball on the fairways will have a huge advantage, but no one will be exempt if the wind picks up.
“If you hit it long here, you will have such an advantage because everything is blind,” Elkington said. “You will get on the tee, you’re looking out, you will see all the grass, and you will see this strip of cut grass, which is the fairway, and these guys have got to send it over these hills with the wind and allow for it. Now, if that wind changes, these guys, it’s going to be carnage because they won’t know where to aim. Right now its consistent out of the southwest.”
The 54-year-old said the golfers who end up in the rough are in a world of trouble.
“You can’t move it. I’m telling you, you can’t move it the length of your shoe,” Elkington said of the longer grass. “I’m not saying oh he’s taking the wedge out and advance a hundred yards down the fairway and then play it, I’m telling you can’t hit it a yard, one yard out of the rough once he gets in there.”
Elkington predicts only a few of the game’s biggest hitters can win this year’s Open.
“I can’t go past the bombers, I got to go with Dustin Johnson again. I don’t think Jason Day hits it straight enough,” Elkington said. “Now Adam Scott. I do think there’s still room for a guy like Jason Dufner, because he hits it so good, because he’s such a control ball striker. If he says there’s room in the fairway, I say there’s room. Now, the guys who are on the shorter end, they are going to be able to stop it on the greens, etcetera, etcetera, [but] it’s the very top of the list. Spieth, it’s going to be mental. Its mental mate, all mental. It’s so intimidating looking out there. So intimidating.”