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Golf’s tough but true test gets underway at Pebble Beach

Golf’s tough but true test gets underway at Pebble Beach

CALIFORNIA: The pedigree of Pebble Beach has been built up over the last 100 years by a business model enticing golfers from around the world to a true ‘links’ golf course on the coast of the monetary peninsula with the sea lapping at the side on some of the golf holes.

Friday 14 June 2019, 02:09PM

Coastal fog clouds the 18th green during a practice round prior to the 2019 US Open Golf Championship. Photo: AFP

Coastal fog clouds the 18th green during a practice round prior to the 2019 US Open Golf Championship. Photo: AFP

Last month’s Major – the PGA Championship – was a municipal golf course. If you wanted to go and play there, the green fee prices are acceptable. Pebble beach is not a municipal golf course but is open to the public and if you wanted to play there, you better step up to the plate with a green fee of US$550 (B17,200) just for starters. A non-resort guest, plus buggy, plus caddie, plus forecaddie and rental golf clubs (excluding tax) = US$832.50 (B26,000), and this golf course is packed every day due to its standing in the golfing world.

The golf course set up this week should be brutal. In the previous US open, due to the greens becoming like putting on a glass-like surface, golf pros on the green were putting their golf balls at the golf hole only for the golf ball to be diverted into the bunker. Pebble Beach golf course will have tight, narrow fairways and there should be deep, almost unplayable rough. Pebble Beach’s natural undulating terrain layout is a force in itself with the smallest greens on the PGA tour, add to that the biggest protection to a links golf course – the ‘weather’ – it will be a great test for all competitors that have qualified to play in this prodigious golf championship.

How can I enter to play in the US Open? Any amateur golfer with a low handicap can enter to play with golf professionals.

How to qualify for the US Open? Half of the field is made up of the top 60 players in the world plus other exemptions. The other half of the field is made up of the European tour having their own qualifying rounds to go straight into the US Open, and local qualifying which is played over 18 holes at more than 100 courses around the United States. All in all a rigorous task for all participants, but worth it.

New blood can emerge from this qualifying system, amateurs as well as pros, blended with hardened tour pros to make up the rest of the field now standing at 156 competitors from all over the world.

Previous winners of the US Open at Pebble Beach:

  • 1972 Jack Nicklaus winning $30,000
  • 1982 Tom Watson winning $60,000
  • 1992 Tom Kite winning $275,000
  • 2000 Tiger Woods winning $800,000
  • 2010 Graeme Mcdowell winning $1,350,000

What do you get for winning the US Open in 2019? Over $2 million first prize, exemptions for certain tournaments (if not already exempt), and sponsorship endorsements. If you’re a first-time winner of a major – as little as $30 million. If you have won a major already, you get extra bonuses within your existing sponsorships. Not a bad week’s work!

Brooks Koepka is going for three US Opens in a row; Willie Anderson is the only golfer ever to do this between 1903–1905. Incidentally, his prize money was a grand total of $600 for all three wins.

Look forward to seeing if Koepka can match Anderson’s feat.

-Martin Platts

Martin Platts (British) P.G.A., Director of the Golf Guru International Golf Academy, has been involved in competitive golf for 49 years, 37 as a professional. He has coached players of all levels from beginners to Ryder Cup tour professionals. Visit TheGolfGuru.com

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