Pebble Beach Golf Links may be the site of the U.S. Open teeing off next Thursday, but venture off the fairway and you’ll find yourself in grass that looks less like a golf course and more like the setting for a remake of “Apocalypse Now.”
Patrick Cantlay posted a video to Instagram on Thursday showing just what a jungle the rough truly is as the tournament draws closer.
Cantlay took seven steps from the pin on the ninth hole and found himself in a thicket of grass so heavy that simply dropping a golf ball is enough to lose it visually. The only way he knew there was a ball there is because he put it there; imagine the poor intrepid golfer who hits a shot into that from 200 yards away on the 505-yard par 4 and then has to try and find it.
“It’s going to be tough,” Cantlay said.
And if you think that aiming to the right is an option, a quick look at the hole itself will disabuse you of the notion that’s a viable idea. The ocean runs right alongside the hole from tee to green, so if you miss in that direction, you’re in the drink.
As if to further reinforce the point of just how difficult the course will be for even the very best professionals, the wind was howling in Cantlay’s video.
The weather forecast for the golf course calls for 10 mph winds late next week, but Pebble Beach is notorious for gusty gales coming off the sea just as golfers start to think they’ve lucked into some calm.
Cantlay just won the Memorial, the tuneup tournament before the Open, shooting a final round 8-under-par 64 that was so well-played that his longest par putt was only eight feet.
He will be playing in a group with Lucas Glover, who is quietly putting together the best comeback story by anyone not named Tiger Woods on tour this year.
Glover won the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage, to this day his only major win, but he has posted 12 top-25 finishes in 17 starts this season and sits 37th on the money list with over $1.8 million in earnings.
Speaking of intriguing groups in the first two rounds, Dustin Johnson — who won at Pebble Beach the last time the course hosted the U.S. Open in 2010 — gets to play with Phil Mickelson, who handed Johnson that win by taking a three-shot lead into Sunday before melting down and shooting an 82.
Fans of amateurs at PGA Tour events, who put the “open” in “Open Championship,” will want to keep an eye on Matt Parziale.
Parziale is a firefighter who holds the distinction of having posted the low-amateur score when the Open traveled to Shinnecock Hills in 2018. He’ll be looking to repeat the feat at Pebble Beach.
And, of course, there’s Brooks Koepka, winner of not only the last two U.S. Opens but also this year’s PGA Championship, ranked No. 1 in the world and looking to add another major trophy to his growing case of them.
But all of those players, and everyone else in the field, will find themselves one stray ball away from complete disaster on one of the hardest holes in all of golf, the ninth at Pebble Beach, with the briny deep of Davy Jones’ Locker on the right and Colonel Kurtz’s jungle on the left.
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