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Open Experiment Scores Big

The Third Hole of Pinehurst No. 2. (John Mummert, USGA)
The Third Hole of Pinehurst No. 2. (John Mummert, USGA)

Staging both U.S. Opens – the men’s and women’s versions – on consecutive weeks at Pinehurst No. 2 was admittedly a gamble.

The USGA said so when it made the decision a few years back.

Now that the finish line is in sight for the Women’s Open, it’s easy to say the experiment has been a success.

If you’re looking for negatives, here are two: Martin Kaymer killed the drama in the men’s Open and it’s been hot in Pinehurst.

Kaymer’s performance was surprising for its sheer dominance. The weather was as surprising as a red shirt on Tiger on Sunday.

Otherwise, the USGA and Pinehurst deserve compliments for pulling this off.

The double Opens may only work at Pinehurst No. 2 and that’s OK. It’s a course that can be tweaked easily for the difference in the way the men and women play while accentuating the strengths of both. Just look at the leaderboard in the Women’s Open – it has big-time players’ names on it.

The Women’s Open has a scaled down feel from the men’s event and that’s good. Rather than have rows of empty bleachers around the 18th green on Sunday, there was some quick deconstruction to reduce the number of seats. Good idea.

The idea from the start was to showcase the women’s talents, putting them on the same course as the men to show how good they really are. They’ve done that.

It was a worthy experiment and one that’s proving just how good an idea it was.


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