Ardmore, PA – The East Course at Merion Golf Club is tucked into 111 acres of land, so there isn't a lot officials can do to make it longer.
Fast greens and thick rough will be two keys to protecting par this week.
As small as people think the course may be, see the 102-yard par-3 13th, only two players broke par in the morning wave and five more shot even-par. When play was stopped for the day, 13 players from the second wave were under par for their rounds.
As for the setup, Phil Mickelson loved it.
"I told (Mike Davis) that this us the best setup I've ever seen for a U.S. Open. I think that what I love about Merion and what they did to Merion in the setup is they made the hard holes even harder," Mickelson explained. "They moved the tees back on the more difficult holes, which made it even tougher to make pars. And I love that because, if you're playing well, you're going to be able to make pars and you're going to be able to separate yourself from the field by making pars."
There you have it. There are holes you can score on, but look out for the long holes.
- JERRY KELLY, on the different wind conditions players faced on Thursday: "So very different. Obviously, I only saw it one other time, and it was the other wind. So it's a little bit of a learning curve when we have got this kind of preparation beforehand."
- IAN POULTER, politely disagreed with the television commentators that were predicting low scores: "I think that anybody in that commentary box has never given this golf course enough respect. The were joking around, laughing at 63s and 62s, and just look at the board. I mean they need to respect this golf course. It's brutal."
- JUSTIN ROSE, thought the course held it's own too: "The pin placements weren't extreme. I don't think that they tucked them beyond sort of what I thought was fair. Must just be the rough because I looked at the leaderboard today and I said to (Brandt) Snedeker, the course is holding up really well. And I guess it still has."
- CHARL SCHWARTZEL, realized earlier in the week that this wasn't going to be a low scoring Open: "I never thought there was going to be a lot of birdies. Even the practice rounds, it's tough. Everyone was talking about the length of it, it's short. But the holes that are short, you're hitting 5-iron on the tee. There's nothing short about it."