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IS MERION MAJOR-WORTHY?
Anonymous Pro: Both. It's major-worthy because of how they set it up. They have it so narrow, the fairway bunkers have rough between them and the fairway, which I don't agree with. The front nine has some painfully short holes. It's all about who can hit it straight off the tee with hybrids and irons.
Shipnuck: It's going to be fascinating. There are so many short holes that aren't easy. Plus, those greens are fearsome. You're hitting wedge in, but you'd better hit a perfect shot. And three of the par-3s are monsters.
Van Sickle: You may swagger through the first 13 holes but stagger through the last five.
Garrity: Merion has produced great champions. Bobby Jones completed the Slam there. Ben Hogan's epic comeback. Lee Trevino and Jack Nicklaus in a playoff. Merion required shotmakers to hit shots. I hope it still does.
Van Sickle: I'm going out to the 18th hole during a practice round to watch how many pros drop a ball by the Hogan plaque, from where he hit his one-iron. It's about 210 yards. These guys don't even own one-irons. Now it's probably a six-iron. That's the fear about Merion, how it has been shrunk by technology.
Bamberger: The scores won't be a million under par. Ten under would be a tremendously low winning score. I think this is a real referendum on what a poor job the governing bodies have done regulating the game. Webb Simpson is talking about hitting all these wedges. That's not what Merion should be, and it diminishes the game.
Shipnuck: The doomsday scenario is that it rains, the greens are soft, they're throwing darts in there with wedges and some random guy wins at 19 under par, as if it's the Bob Hope Desert Classic. Maybe then the USGA will finally say, O.K., there's a fundamental issue we have to address, and it's not anchored putting. It's the golf ball.
Van Sickle: And metal woods. Oops. Too late for that.
Shipnuck: Driver is still a big club at the Masters, but the driver has been diminished at the U.S. and British Opens. It's ironic that those are the events put on by golf's governing bodies. You take away the driver, and it becomes about course management and patience and putting. The personality of these tournaments is changing, and that'll be on full display at Merion.