U.S. Open week is here. That time of the year when us golf hack’s get a chuckle at the top players in the world struggling against what usually is a beast of a course.
And this week, the beast has risen- Oakmont Country Club outside Pittsburgh is Ramsey Bolton Game of Thrones level of evil.
The members at Oakmont admit it, they delight in seeing the greatest struggle on their demanding layout.
There are other difficult courses that have hosted our national championship before, Winged Foot and Shinnecock Hills come to mind, but Oakmont is right there with them.
The last time the U.S. Open was held here, Angel Cabrera won with a 5-over par total of 285.
The great Ben Hogan won in 1953, with a +3 score of 283.
There have been a few exceptions, usually due to lack of wind or rain.
In 1994, nine players shot under par in that year’s national championship. Ernie Els won in a playoff over Colin Montgomerie and Loren Roberts.
Johnny Miller’s 63 in ’73 in the final round at Oakmont is considered by many to be the greatest round in golf history. Just about every shot was letter-perfect, winning Miller his only U.S. Open.
This year, the rule looks to be a much safer bet than the exception. Oakmont is going to play extra tough.
Phil Mickelson has already called it “the toughest course he’s ever played.”
Greens will run at close to 15 on the stimpmeter (think Indy 500 fast).
It’s going to be tough, but in a U.S. Open, you expect it to be a difficult test.
What you want is FAIR. No disasters like Chambers Bay’s bumpy greens last year, or the par-3, 7th hole at Shinnecock Hills in 2004, which many golfers called “unplayable.”
The players are going to be the 98 pound weakling that gets Oakmont sand “kicked in their faces” over four grueling rounds.
Somebody is going to have to stand up to this golf bully.
Will it be one of the Big Three?
Jason Day, Jordan Spieth or Rory McIlroy? Or maybe a really good sleeper, like last week’s winner, Daniel Berger? Perhaps a solid ball-striking, U.S. Open fit like Justin Rose or Jim Furyk?
I think three things will happen.
Dustin Johnson will get in contention, miss a few putts, and come up short again.
Mickelson will not get a seventh runner-up finish in this event and will struggle to make the cut.
One of the Big Three will win.
I think it will be Jason’s Day come Sunday.