Why Wedge Won't Be The Automatic Go-To Club Around The Greens At The 2024 US Open

Pinehurst No.2's greens and run-off areas will test pros this week at the US Open in a way we don't usually see on the PGA Tour

Tiger Woods hits a chip at the US Open
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Webb Simpson says he expects scoring to be high this week over the "brutally difficult" Pinehurst No.2 and revealed which club he'll be chipping with - and it's not his wedge.

The iconic layout is renowned for its stunning sandy waste areas but it's the greens that are the stars of the show. The putting surfaces might seem large on TV but the undulations actually mean that players will be battling to find certain portions, with defending champion Wyndham Clark admitting that missing them in the right spot is better than finding them in the wrong position.

Clark also said the greens are already "borderline" in what points to a challenging week for the world's best.

Simpson, who won the 2012 US Open at the Olympic Club and made it through qualifying this year, expects par to be a "great friend" all week and doesn't see anybody doing what Martin Kaymer did at Pinehurst ten years ago, when he won by eight strokes, with runners-up Erik Compton and Rickie Fowler the only other two players under par.

"This is pretty typical US Open in the sense that par is a great friend to you all week. It's a brutally hard golf course," Simpson said.

Tiger Woods practices putting from off the green ahead of the 2024 US Open

Tiger Woods seen working on the Texas Wedge at Pinehurst

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"I think what Martin Kaymer did in 2024 was incredible. I think if you take out his winning score, the second place that year and the previous two winners, it was somewhere right around even, one over or one under."

"I don't foresee anybody doing what he did then. You never know 'cause guys are so good. We have Scottie Scheffler playing this week," he smiled.

When Martin Kaymer did miss the greens a decade ago, he famously used his putter to recover and find his way back on to the putting surfaces - and very effectively.

Simpson says he'll be employing a similar strategy this year, except he'll be going with a 3-wood after getting some tips from fellow PGA Tour pro Chesson Hadley.

"They're pretty similar to '14 from what I remember. I'm using 3-wood, which I never used throughout the year. But I did it in '14. I saw somebody doing it, they made it look really easy. I tried it. Put it in play that week.

Collin Morikawa was also spotted working on the fairway wood chip shot:

"I haven't done it since the 2014 US Open. Already I'm realizing it's easy. I got a lesson from Chesson Hadley. He's really good at it. Why I love it is it comes off the face a little quicker than the putt. It's hard to have consistent contact chipping the ball because every lie around these greens, everywhere you go, side, front, it doesn't matter, it's into the green.

"You chip five balls you're probably going to chunk one of them."

Tiger Woods was spotted working on chipping with his 4-iron on Monday at Pinehurst, and a segment from the Golf Channel's Johnson Wagner illustrated the difficulty of chipping around the greens at Pinehurst, with the former PGA Tour pro admitting that he'd be using the flat stick from around the putting surfaces this week if he were playing.

We're so used to seeing heavy rough around the greens of PGA Tour and other Major venues, where pros automatically take out the 60 degree wedge. 

It's set to be a refreshing week of watching the world's best being creative with their shot and club choices when they don't find the greens in regulation.

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