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What makes for a fair — or unfair — U.S. Open setup?

The First Call readers offer their opinions of where the USGA crosses the line for its biggest major

Question of the week [June 3-9]: In your opinion, what constitutes a fair or unfair U.S. Open setup, and what have been some good or bad examples? 

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The U.S. Open has always been the hardest test of championship golf. The only thing that comes close is a British Open at Carnoustie. The last two U.S. Opens at Shinnecock Hills were set up very poorly by the USGA, so those are rather obvious examples of things getting "out of hand."

As for truly unfair, the only unacceptable U.S. Open setup I have seen was at Chambers Bay (2015). It was not so much the setup, but rather the state of the greens. No way the USGA should have played that event on those inferior, sickly greens. Shame on the USGA for not moving the event when it was perfectly clear the championship was going to be severely compromised. I am OK with really, really hard one week a year. Similar to the one week a year of mayhem at the Waste Management Open in Phoenix. Just don't give me a regular diet of those sorts of things. 

Reid Farrill
Toronto, Ontario

I think the course should be set up with distances that cannot be taken advantage of, pin placements that are fair — but not too easy — and rough that maintains the tradition of a U.S. Open. 

Bob Norris
Cincinnati, Ohio

  1. Par 3 pins over a hazard that can’t be held.
  2. Fairways that can’t be held, leading balls to go into the rough.
  3. Rough that is so high that an entire ball settles more than an inch below the grass top.
  4. Greens that a seven iron or less can’t hold.

Jim Noyd
San Marcos, California

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Front photo: Phil Mickelson on the 16th green during the first round of the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington. Credit: Eoin Clarke / Golffile