Players, USGA have 1 goal at Pebble: Get it right this time

First impressions of Pebble Beach setup for U.S. Open Lush	
				Geoff Shackelford  Golfweek

It's time for the most hard test in golf: the U.S. Open.

The four-time major champion heads to Pebble Beach on the back of a seven-stroke win at the Canadian Open, where he carded a spectacular nine-under 61 in the final round. "Woods's history here is obviously strong", he wrote.

The 22-year-old amateur playing in his first professional tournament at this week's U.S. Open, walked onto the Pebble Beach practice range Tuesday looking for a place to hit balls.

Make no mistake: Young, a native of Scarborough in Westchester County, whose father, David, is the head pro at Sleepy Hollow, is not a naïve, wide-eyed, first-timer destined to be an only-timer.

The American is one of the favourites to win the third Major of the season.

The players, majority here since Monday for the practice rounds, seem to be keeping an open mind, and appear to like what they are seeing.

"Whether that's more important for me than other people... maybe. We do things on the golf course with alternative sets of tees".

Attribute some of that to the weather. The rough is ideal, with long blades of grass that fold over making the ball visible, but also grabbing the club to make it hard to control shots. Fairways are pure. Greens are smooth and not too fast.

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'It is not just critical that we have a smooth week for the championship but for the game itself, ' said tournament director, John Bodenhamer.

"I've never played in a PGA Tour event or a event, so it's definitely better now to have this experience to see how I stack up, " Young said. "It is truly magnificent".

As one of the longest and most accurate drivers in golf, McIlroy will also have an advantage with the US Open notorious for narrow fairways and thick rough. That's true at most U.S. Opens - or used to be.

Johnson has won the US PGA Tour's Pebble Beach National Pro-am twice and finished runner-up twice. There's so many guys that shoot themselves out of it just because it's a major.

Former world No.1 McIlroy says his complete demolition of the Canadian Open at Hamilton Golf Club has given him the confidence to go low on Thursday at California's famed Pebble Beach.

McIlroy, who was due to tee off at the 10th hole with Spain's Jon Rahm and Australian Marc Leishman at 7:51 am, is seeking to add to his tally of four majors for the first time since 2014. "And if I ever join that crowd - and the only way to do that is to win a U.S. Open - it would redefine my career".

Koepka enters this tournament as the No. 1 golfer in the world. The British Open is in Northern Ireland, his birthplace, for the first time in almost 70 years and he and fellow countryman Graeme McDowell are eager to put on a display at Royal Portrush. He and Woods were not on good terms after they separated in 2011, but Williams spoke highly of Woods after he won the Masters last April and Woods was complimentary if not overly sentimental about his time with Williams when asked this week.

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