Sports

US Open looking rather British with brown spots, but doesn't lose appeal as the toughest test

  • Rickie Fowler hits out of the long grass on the 18th hole during a practice round for the U.S. Open golf tournament in Pinehurst, N.C., Wednesday, June 11, 2014. The tournament starts Thursday. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

    Rickie Fowler hits out of the long grass on the 18th hole during a practice round for the U.S. Open golf tournament in Pinehurst, N.C., Wednesday, June 11, 2014. The tournament starts Thursday. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)  (The Associated Press)

  • Martin Kaymer, of Germany, watches his tee shot on the third hole during a practice round for the U.S. Open golf tournament in Pinehurst, N.C., Wednesday, June 11, 2014. The tournament starts Thursday. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

    Martin Kaymer, of Germany, watches his tee shot on the third hole during a practice round for the U.S. Open golf tournament in Pinehurst, N.C., Wednesday, June 11, 2014. The tournament starts Thursday. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)  (The Associated Press)

  • Sergio Garcia, of Spain, lines up his putt on the 18th hole during a practice round for the U.S. Open golf tournament in Pinehurst, N.C., Wednesday, June 11, 2014. The tournament starts Thursday. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

    Sergio Garcia, of Spain, lines up his putt on the 18th hole during a practice round for the U.S. Open golf tournament in Pinehurst, N.C., Wednesday, June 11, 2014. The tournament starts Thursday. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)  (The Associated Press)

The Open starts Thursday, and for anyone who gets a quick look at Pinehurst No. 2 is sure to ask one question.

Which Open?

The brown edges of fairways, the sandy areas and rugged nature of the restoration make it look like a British Open. What likely will make this feel like a U.S. Open is the sheer difficulty.

The U.S. Open is known as the toughest test in golf, and most players believe it will live up to its reputation. In two previous Opens at Pinehurst, the winner did not finish under par. USGA executive director Mike Davis says all he wants is a stern test.

It has been more than 50 years since three straight U.S. Open champions finished over par.