Dissecting Wyndham Clark’s U.S. Open win

Wyndham Clark, 123rd U.S. Open,(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Wyndham Clark, 123rd U.S. Open,(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images) /
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Wyndham Clark, U.S. Open, Los Angeles Country Club, 123rd U.S. Open, Golf
Wyndham Clark, 2023 U.S. Open, Los Angeles Country Club, Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports /

Did LACC measure up?

In a word, no.

For all the verbal gymnastics performed by the NBC TV crew in an effort to salvage the course’s reputation as a legit open venue following Thursday’s scoring binge, by tournaments’ end, Los Angeles Country Club had shown itself to be one of the most accommodating layouts ever introduced into the U.S. Open experience.

The four-round field average was 282.65, or 2.65 strokes above the par of 70.

In the 123-year history of the U.S. Open, only four times has a course been more amenable to surrendering par than was LACC this past week. And all four of the easier courses played to a par of 71 or 72. It is axiomatic on Tour that the higher the par, the more likely the pros are to eat the place up.

Here are the 10 easiest U.S. Open courses in history based on four-round scoring average.

                 Course                  Year       Average          Par          Diff.

1              Erin Hills               2017      287.21             72         -0.79

2              Medinah              1990       288.38             72           0.38

3              Pebble Beach     2019       284.90             71           0.90

4              Congressional    2011       286.27             71           2.27

5              Los Angeles CC  2023       282.65             70           2.65

6              Country Club      1988       288.09              71           4.09

7              Torrey Pines       2021       288.65              71           4.65

8              Baltusrol             1993       284.83              70           4.83

9              Olympia Fields   2003       284.87             70           4.87

10           Country Club      2022        285.78             70           5.78

There’s a clear trend on the above list toward recent courses. They’ve been playing the Open since 1895, yet all 10 of the low scores relative to par have been shot since 1990, and six since 2011.  That suggests that the root of the problem is that course toughness isn’t keeping up with player development.

Yet even by those standards, LACC played easy. It played a full two strokes easier than the previous easiest par 70 track Baltusrol back in 1993.