Title: PGA Tour Confidential Extra: U.S. Open predictions, Tiger's drive for 15 and the best hole at Merion
Description: The SI Golf Group convened a panel of experts and a Tour player who participated on the condition of anonymity to tackle all things U.S. Open in a special PGA Tour Confidential Extra. 1. Is Merion major-worthy? Anonymous Pro: Both. It's major-worthy because of how they set it up. They have it so narrow, the fairway bunkers have rough between them and the fairway, which I don't agree with. The front nine has some painfully short holes. It's all about who can hit it straight off the tee with hybrids and irons. Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: It's going to be fascinating. There are so many short holes that aren't easy. Plus, those greens are fearsome. You're hitting wedge in, but you'd better hit a perfect shot. And three of the par-3s are monsters. Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: You may swagger through the first 13 holes but stagger through the last five. John Garrity, special contributor, Sports Illustrated: Merion has produced great champions. Bobby Jones completed the Slam there. Ben Hogan's epic comeback. Lee Trevino and Jack Nicklaus in a playoff. Merion required shotmakers to hit shots. I hope it still does. Van Sickle: I'm going out to the 18th hole during a practice round to watch how many pros drop a ball by the Hogan plaque, from where he hit his one-iron. It's about 210 yards. These guys don't even own one-irons. Now it's probably a six-iron. That's the fear about Merion, how it has been shrunk by technology.