Greetings Golfers,

This week the US Open returns to Winged Foot (I’m writing this before they play on Thursday). The rumor is that the course is playing very difficult, and that the scores will be high. I heard talk that 8 over par will win.

That’s a big number for the best players in the world.

The 1974 US Open was known as the “Massacre at Winged Foot” … Hale Irwin won at 7 over.

Hale Irwin won 3 US Opens. And he won 45 tournaments on the Champions Tour. His record is crazy good. But do you know much about him? Do you think of him when people talk about golf’s all-time great players?

Speaking of great players, Claude Harmon was the Head Pro at Winged Foot from 1945-1978. He won the Masters in 1948. And, he holds the course record on both the West and East Courses at Winged Foot. To keep himself interested when he played his home courses … he would change his game depending on the wind. One day he would play every shot against the wind … and the next day he would play every shot with the wind … obviously drawing or fading it at will.

No surprise that those Harmon boys became superstar golf instructors.

Butch Harmon wasn’t Phil Mickelson’s instructor in 2006. That was the year that Phil double bogeyed the last hole of the US Open (at Winged Foot) to lose by one shot. It wasn’t pretty. Butch became Phil’s coach in 2007 – probably a year too late.

Can Phil win his coveted US Open this week? He’s 50 years old … so he’s running out of miles … though he doesn’t hit it like a 50 year old. However, Winged Foot is more about control than length.

This has been a weird year. The US Open being played in September? Why not? This year is already upside-down. Maybe this is Phil’s time … could be another “Massacre at Winged Foot”. However, it’s more likely that a Hale Irwin type of player will win – a grinder who hits it straight.

If the winner is 8 over par … imagine what the bad scores will be. They might start wearing full face-masks.


Tom Abts
GM/Head PGA Professional

Deer Run Golf Club
8661 Deer Run Drive
Victoria, MN 55386
(952) 443-2351