CARBON’S European Tour ambassador Richie Ramsay will have Scotland cheering him on when he tees up at the US Open which begins at historic Shinnecock Hills on Long Island on Thursday. The Edinburgh-based professional qualified for the second year in a row with a stand-out nine under par two round total at the Walton Heath qualifiers. As Richie tells us, he’s eager to build on experience gained in the same tournament last year at Erin Hills.
“I had a good feeling going into Walton Heath and when you have done something before the confidence and belief is probably that little bit higher in any walk of life. I had a little wobble in the second round and conditions were tougher than 2017 but coming down the stretch. But I kept my foot down, playing aggressively and staying committed to the shots. I played lovely to seal it with potential for disaster at a lot of holes at that venue.
“Qualifying for the US Open again is a definite bonus in my season. It meant quickly arranging flights to New York and luckily I have a good friend who stays near Shinnecock Hills so the accommodation is all sorted. I have played the course with him before and there is a real Scottish feel to it with the long grass – and it can be quite exposed with wind sweeping across it, which should suit me. It is a spectacular golf course which will be really challenging. Hopefully it will play firm and fast. I’m looking forward to it.
“It is a cool place with an old-style clubhouse sitting up on a hill overlooking most of the property and they say it is the oldest in the USA. The course is certainly different from your stereotypical American design, with input from the Scots designer Willie Dunn.
“When I played the US Open as an amateur in 2007 the course was really tough. Last year I felt the set-up at Erin Hills wasn’t as challenging. The USPGA has been selecting classic, old-style courses that bring shot-making back into play. It will be interesting to see how scores measure up against previous US Opens at Shinnecock when maybe they let the greens get too firm.
“I’m sure this course will suit my game. Walton Heath was a good challenge and good preparation. I don’t think I did myself justice at Erin Hills but I wasn’t overawed and felt a lot more comfortable in that environment. It is a huge stage and the media profile will be even bigger this year with Tiger Woods being factored in. His presence ups the media scrutiny and the crowds. But from my perspective the experience gained last year served me well when it came to The Open at Royal Birkdale and I am aiming to build on it.
“Obviously this is a Major attracting the very best players in the world. I said at the start of the year it would be no surprise if Justin Rose won another Major and he has already won a US Open. He should be a contender and his game is tailored to this tournament. He is certainly one to look out for.
“I believe he has been across early to get the work in. I haven’t had that luxury but I am making the most of the practice time available to me in advance of the tournament. I will certainly have a plan and a clear idea of what I want to do by the time the tournament starts on Thursday.”