The remarkable 7th green on Pebble Beach Golf Links. Image: Getty.
Describing the famous Pebble Beach as a left course is a wrong name.
The real links – the original courses of the game – along the edges of the British and Irish coasts, play over perfect, resilient fescue and over the uniquely wrinkled ground by the sea, which is so ideal for golf.
The game inevitably migrated both inland and overseas and the most spectacular results of that migration were the striking Pebble Beach and Cypress Point courses perched high on the cliffs above the beaches of the Monterey Peninsula.
However, the ground is softer in California, the grasses different (television viewers will be tired of all references to poa-annua greens by the time this week's champion is crowned) and the fairways offer more predictable bounces, views and lies.
Australia has a few real connections – technical courses built on the narrow coastal strips of land separating the beach from the farmland beyond.
Many are familiar with the two courses in Barnbougle in northern Tasmania or Port Fairy, just down the road from Marc Leishman & # 39; s home course in Warrnambool. They will also understand how the golf country is literally only a few meters from flat, low, wet farmland. That might be ideal for growing potatoes, but not at all suitable for interesting golf.
The New South Wales Golf Club is the Australian version of Pebble Beach. Just like this week's US Open site, the golf course at La Perouse has cliff holes that deserve all the attention and praise. The less spectacular gaps away from the edges of the property play a secondary but still important role.
At this time, Pebble Beach is a short lane with only Merion, near Philadelphia, a shorter Open location. Pebble & # 39; s defense against low scores includes the par-five second hole a par four, the smallest set of greens on one of the best courses of the game, tall grass around it, narrow fairways and, of course, the wind.
The USGA officials have a lot to redeem this week after "losing the golf course" on Saturday last year in Shinnecock Hills and served terrible pit surfaces in Chambers Bay in 2015.
They also met with criticism from those who had fallen in love with the brutality of a & # 39; traditional & # 39; US Open when Brooks Koepka won in par under 16 in a windless Erin Hills, a new track built to accommodate high winds that never came.
Trying to please everyone is a thankless task, but setting up a course with the aim of denying a predetermined winning score around parallels that do not surprise organizers is full of danger, because it is inevitably about decaying the ideal dimensions of the course.
And Pebble Beach without all the long grass would be an even better golf course.
Koepka hopes to win three in a row and after Rafael Nadal's performance in Paris to win his 12th claycourt crown, three do not sound too heavy, especially when the Spaniard has won three times in a row now.
However, golf championships are more prone to chance than their tennis equivalents.
Still Koepka is the best player in the world and in 1972, 1982 and 2000 Pebble Beach gave us Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Tiger Woods, each the best player in the world at that time.
Leishman, Jason Day and Adam Scott – as they have been for almost a decade – are Australia's best hope and all have a reason for optimism.
Day has seduced Steve Williams from New Zealand to carry his bag and if a player has to rely on the advice of a caddy, it might just as well come from someone as powerful as Williams caddied for Woods that remarkable week in 2000 when the next one was best, 15 shots were behind.
Scott was second in Muirfield Village a few weeks ago and both his swing and his game are never far away.
We first played almost 20 years ago and if someone had said then – after he had just shot 64 – he would & # 39; but & # 39; having won one big championship, I would have been more than surprised.
Scott doesn't have a lot of time and he has had a brilliant career at this point, but if each of them passes, it is less likely to add something very important.
Leishman is just, well, Leishman. Kicked, underestimated and largely unnoticed by the average American gallery, he plays really sensible, powerful golf with a bit of Ashleigh Barty & # 39; s & # 39; no fuss & # 39; style about him.
Or maybe Barty has a lot of Leishman about her game?
Anyway, it serves both well.