ERIN, Wis. – Thanks to modern technology, the idea of Erin Hills being a bona fide “big ballpark” can be quantified.
As one caddie explained early Wednesday at the U.S. Open, he took more than 30,000 steps to round this week’s venue during a practice round on Tuesday.
Balancing those inherent physical demands with the need to learn a first-time major venue has become a crucial part of this week’s preparation.
U.S. Open: Tee times | Full coverage
Billy Horschel, for example, made an early scouting trip to Erin Hills two weeks ago to learn the course but has limited his actual time on the course this week to just nine holes on Monday and another nine on Tuesday. After an abbreviated session on the range early Wednesday, he planned to be back at his rented house by noon.
“He talked about playing nine today [Wednesday], and I asked him if he thought that would really help him or if it was more important to show up on Sunday with a little more rest,” said Todd Anderson, Horschel’s swing coach.
Jordan Spieth has taken a similar approach. The 2015 champion arrived in Wisconsin on Saturday for a nine-hole round followed by practice rounds on Sunday and Monday.
“I thought Sunday and Monday would be the heaviest days, and dial it back a little [Tuesday] and [Wednesday],” Spieth said. “Just a little bit shorter days. I’m going in the afternoons, getting a little more rest in the mornings. So, yeah, just tapering it back just little bit.”