While hundreds of players were trying to qualify their way into the U.S. Open on Monday, Phil Mickelson spent the day checking out the No. 2 Course at Pinehurst.
After his scouting mission, Mickelson seemed quite pleased with what he saw of the renovated layout.
"I think everybody loves … what [course designers Ben] Crenshaw and [Bill] Coore did here," Mickelson said in a brief video interview with the Pinehurst Resort . "They're the best at what they do, and they took a real gem from Donald Ross and they left the greatness of it, which are the greens, and restored the shotmaking value that was originally intended.
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"It's so fun to play and it's strategic," he explained. "You have so many decisions you can make off the tee, what club you hit. And around the greens, so much skill and touch is involved with your short game, which is to salvage shots, as opposed to the 'hit-it-and-hope' out of the thick, heavy rough."
Even though No. 2 looks much different from other U.S. Open courses, Mickelson doesn't expect this U.S. Open to be much different from its predecessors.
"The challenge is still hitting the fairways and still recovering shots out of the rough and salvaging pars," he said. "The greens are so penalizing that if you're not in the fairways, getting the ball onto the surface is almost impossible. You've got to be in the fairway to have a realistic chance of controlling your shot and keeping it on the green."
Here's the entire interview: