A U.S. Open Q&A With Corey Pavin

In 1995, Corey Pavin won the U.S. Open with one of the most memorable shots in championship history, hitting a 4-wood from 228 yards to within 5 feet on the 72nd hole at Shinnecock Hills. Pavin, 50, who has played in the last three U.S. Opens at Pebble Beach, shared his thoughts about this year’s Open venue prior to the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February.

What can you can learn playing the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am that would be applicable in June?


Corey Pavin's only major title came at the 1995 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. (USGA Museum)

Pavin: They’ve obviously changed a few fairways and a few lines. Other than that, you’re not going to see a whole lot. It’s going to be quite different when you play the U.S. Open.

How much different do you think Pebble will be in June, compared to the Open in 2000?

Pavin: The weather and the setup is everything. They seem to set up the courses very fairly. I’m sure it will be good.

What kind of setup do you expect in June, given what Mike Davis has done in recent years?

Pavin: It seems like what they’re doing is having graduated rough – the first cut, second cut and third cut. I think that’s good. The farther you hit it off the fairway, the more you should be penalized. That seems to be the biggest change I’ve seen. Other than that, it’s pretty much a U.S. Open setup.

How would you put Tiger Woods’ accomplishment in 2000 into perspective?

Pavin: That’s just crazy good. You’d have to go back a long time in history to find a margin anywhere near that. It’s an incredible feat to do that in this day and age, when there are so many good players. That was just awesome.

What are the most interesting holes at Pebble, strategically?

Pavin: The two holes that come to my mind are Nos. 4 and 18. I might give 18 the nod just because it’s the last hole. You have a lot of options on No. 4 – guys can hit driver and get it up close to the green. Hit it left [and] you’re dead; and hit it right and you’re in the ocean. That’s kind of a fun hole to watch if guys can reach the green or get close. You see a lot of different plays off that tee.

What makes Pebble special in your mind, beyond the setting?

Pavin: The setting is obviously one thing, but the course itself is a lot of fun to play. It’s more about positioning than just seeing how far you can hit it. There’s a lot of strategy on the golf course, all the way around, and that makes it a lot of fun for me. I’ve played a lot of good rounds there and had a lot of success.

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