PINEHURST, N.C. -- Calling the greens "unfriendly" and referring to the area outside the fairways as "weeds," Masters champion Bubba Watson expects a long week at Pinehurst No. 2, where the U.S. Open begins Thursday.
Watson will attempt to become the rare player to win the Masters and U.S. Open in the same year, but he was making no bold predictions after a couple of days of practice.
"It's a tough test of golf," Watson said. "For me personally it's going to be all about the tee shots. I'm going to try to lay farther back than normal. It's still iffy -- I don't know what they call it, rough, dirt, sand -- but you don't know what kind of lies you're going to get [off the fairway]. So I'm going to lay back and have a lot longer shots into the holes.
"I don't see too many birdies around here, especially if they put the pins in the corners. You can't look at par or a number; you have to look at just finishing. It's going to be a tough test of golf. In four days, I'll tell you how much I really like it or hate it. And hopefully it's four days, not two."
Watson had never been to Pinehurst before Sunday, when he got his first look at some of the holes. His caddie, Ted Scott, worked for Olin Browne here during the 2005 U.S. Open, but the course is considerably different from when Michael Campbell won that year.
Thick, Bermuda rough has been torn out, and in its place is a sandy, almost unkempt, look. Although it's not rough, there are plenty of difficulties, such as clumps of native grass throughout. The resort refers to it as "undergrowth."
"Where I grew up, we call that weeds," Watson said.