Was Erin Hills really that easy?
Yes, Brooks Koepka shot a record-tying 16-under par to win his first major.
Yes, Justin Thomas shot 63 on Saturday and broke Johnny Miller’s 44-year-old single round scoring mark.
At Sunday’s end, 31 players shot under par at the course stuck out there in the middle of some Wisconsin farmlands.
Was this really a worthy U.S. Open venue?
Johnny Miller didn’t think so.
Miller was on hand at a corporate function at Erin Hills Saturday when Thomas broke his record.
“Taking nothing away from nine-under par — nine-under par is incredible with U.S. Open pressure,” Miller said. “But it isn’t a U.S. Open course that I’m familiar with the way it was set up. It looked like a PGA Tour event course setup. There are 50-yard wide fairways. I’m not sure where the days of the 24-to-29 yard-wide fairways that we played every time went.”
Miller also added that the four par five holes made it easier for Thomas to shoot 63. “It was more likely to get broken on a par 72,” Miller acknowledged. “That really helps. With the course setup and rain, it was a perfect storm for a good score. It was never that way in the U.S. Open. It was about really tight fairways and having to be a great driver. This went totally against the tradition of the U.S. Open. A 63 for a par 72 is a heck of a score. Even if it was the Milwaukee Open.”
Yes, Miller zinged Erin Hills with that one.
The USGA will be returning to more tradition venues over the next four years.
Next year’s championship will be staged at Shinnecock Hills in New York, Pebble Beach will host the 2019 U.S. Open. Winged Foot will be the 2020 site and then Torrey Pines will host the 2021 U.S. Open.