“Heaven & Hell-US Open Golf”
They built the course at the turn of the last century.
The Oakmont Country Club, just outside Pittsburgh, hosts the US Open today, as the world’s best golfers face possibly the US Open’s toughest course.
The favorite phrase at Oakmont, ‘it will test your skill…it will test your soul’.
Oakmont is a 7,100-yard, tightly confined course. There are no rivers, no streams, not alot of trees to hit around.
But you better keep it in the fairway, or else you’ll never see ‘red’ on the scorecard or leader board.
There will be 3-layers of rough down the fairways and around the greens. The best words to describe what they might hit balls into is ‘lush and thick’. A better word would be ‘trouble’.
The fairways are tight, or according to their pamphlet description, ‘slender’. All that is synonymous with disciplined or conservative off the tee.
And then there are the greens, fast, tilted, dangerous. The best adverbs are ‘slick’ or ‘swift’. It all depends where you place your approach shot, and good luck if you think you can predict which way your ball will roll once it lands.
It’s a maddening track for sure. It was a slice of the persona of what the US Open has become historically in golf.
Sam Snead won here. Ben Hogan won here. Jack Nicklaus won here. Arnie Palmer never did. Tiger Woods never did. And none of the young guns who tee off today, have ever played here, aside from yesterday’s practice rounds.
Somehow Johnny Miller survived here and did shoot a 63 on the final round to win. But in 2007, no one put a score in red, and the winner finished 5-over par.
The best will have to deal with the toughest. But for all the wild shots that Phil Mickelson might hit, it’s no different for Rory McIlroy, or the streaky Jordan Spieth, or the budding superstar Jason Day. This is how golf’s leaders want it, at least this weekend.
The Grand Slam events are so much fun to watch. From the British Open links courses in Scotland and England, to the history and beauty of Augusta, but this US Open is a memory for the ages. You don’t necessarily win it, you may just try to survive it. Conquer it before it conquers you.
The USGA is all about ‘saving the integrity of par’, and they will over the next four days.
It’s heavenly to play at a historic place like Oakmont. It will be hell on the course however. It’s the US Open.