Donald full of praise for Pinehurst

The US Open may have the reputation as the most difficult major title to win, but Luke Donald believes this week’s tournament will be an exciting one for spectators.

The former world number is specifically looking forward to playing on a Pinehurst number two course that has very few areas of rough.

“I love the renovation and the fact that the USGA have been brave enough to play a US Open with no rough. It’s a genius move on their part,” Donald told BBC Radio 5 live.

“Having short-cut grass everywhere gives you so many more options. If you hit it in long rough you have one option and that’s grab the lob wedge [to hack the ball out].

“Here you have so many different options off the tee, around the greens. I love what they’ve done.”

Donald will play his first round with fellow Englishman Paul Casey and American Harris English, while defending champion Justin Rose starts his title defense alongside last year’s runner-up Phil Mickelson and US Amateur champion Matt Fitzpatrick.

Ulsterman Rory McIlroy will tee off with countryman Graeme McDowell as well as 2012 winner Webb Simpson in a group that features three former US Open champions.

World numbers one and three – Adam Scott and Bubba Watson – will play alongside former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, while world number two Swede Henrik Stenson be partnered by American Matt Kuchar and England’s Lee Westwood.

Sergio Garcia’s bid for a major title starts alongside American Brandt Snedeker and Australia’s Jason Day, and three of the youngest players in the draw – Jordan Spieth, Hideki Matsuyama and Rickie Fowler – have been paired together.