Pinehurst No.2 Greens 'Already Are Borderline' - Wyndham Clark 'Amazed' At Speed Of US Open Putting Surfaces

The defending champion says he witnessed multiple players putt their balls off the greens at Pinehurst No.2, venue for this week's 124th US Open

Wyndham Clark smiles during a US Open practice round
The World No.4 won his maiden Major title at Los Angeles Country Club last year
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Defending US Open champion Wyndham Clark says that this week's greens at Pinehurst No.2 "already are borderline" ahead of what is set to be a stern test of golf at the USA's 124th national open.

Clark won his maiden Major title at LACC last year, where he pipped Rory McIlroy by a single stroke. He won his third PGA Tour title at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am earlier this year and moved up to a career-high of 3rd in the world.

The American, now ranked 4th in the OWGR, spoke to media on-site at Pinehurst on Monday afternoon, where his views on the greens will see some fans rejoice in what points to an entertaining week where the world's best will be tested to the extreme.

"The greens are extremely fast and penal. You hit it on the green, the hole is not done. I was just amazed how fast the greens are. Yeah, I mean, they are extremely fast. If they get any firmer and faster, the greens, I mean, they'd be borderline. They already are borderline," Clark said on Pinehurst's famously undulating putting surfaces, before admitting that sometimes it's better to miss a green in the right spot than hit it in the wrong position.

"But yeah, as far as practicing, I mean, the biggest thing is where you leave yourself on the greens," he continued.

wyndham clark

Clark prevailed at LACC last year

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"Today I went with my caddie and we just were really charting to certain pins, like we'd rather be here than there. Sometimes that almost could mean, not that you're trying to miss a green, but you're erring towards the easier up and down.

"You have to play a lot of break on these greens. When we're hitting lag putts and short putts, you have a 10-footer downhill, down-grain. Normally you're not more than four or five inches outside the cup on most greens.

"Here you're maybe playing 10 to 12 inches just so that you're not getting below the hole and having it run away. It's really a lot of practice. That's what we're going to focus on a lot. We did today, and these next few days, to get ready."

The greens at Pinehurst No.2 are Champion Ultradwarf Bermudagrass, meaning that grain will come into play. Into the grain is around 12 on the stimp, Clark estimates, while admitting that they are frightening quick down-grain, to the extent that he witnessed players de-greening putts in his practice round.

"Yeah, I mean, the grain, I don't know if it affects maybe the break of the putts as much on these greens because they are cut so tight that the green is not grabbing it," he said.

Wyndham Clark during a US Open practice round

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"It's more the speed. When it looks really shiny and it's down-grain, let's say the grains are a 13, I think down-grain they're 15 or 16. They're like significantly faster. 

"And then into the grain, it's not affecting it that much. It goes from a 13 on the stimp to maybe only a 12 in my mind. So every putt is fast. I find myself hitting uphill putts six feet by, six, seven feet by. Common theme in our group.

"I mean, multiple guys putts off the green. Multiple guys hit putts, they're like, oh, my gosh. It's definitely the defense right now is the greens."

And on his own game, Clark doesn't sound overly optimistic on becoming the third man to successfully defend a US Open title after two consecutive missed cuts at the PGA Championship and Memorial Tournament. He also missed the cut at The Masters, too.

"I haven't been playing my best golf. It's been kind of a tough stretch these last few weeks. Really I'm trying to gain some momentum for the rest of the season. I know that maybe sounds like low expectations for the week, but honestly I'd love to just gain some momentum," he said.

"I'd really like to hit some good shots, have some really good up and downs, make some key putts throughout the week, and play four solid rounds. That's really what I'd love to do."

Martin Kaymer strolled to victory here ten years ago, winning by eight strokes at nine-under-par. He was just one of three men under par for the week, with runners-up Rickie Fowler and Erik Compton at one-under.

Whether this week's winning score will be in the single-digits-under-par is yet to be seen, but hot and dry weather at the US Open is predicted for the week - pointing to challenging and firm conditions.

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV