4 Reasons why this year’s U.S Open is going to be “the hardest in history”

“I played Oakmont the last two days. It truly is, I think, the hardest golf course we’ve ever played,” Mickelson told reporters in Memphis ahead of the FedEX St. Jude Classic.

Oakmont regularly ranks inside the top five hardest golf courses in the world, here’s why:


1. The Scores

Situated near Pittsburg’s northeast suburbs, the course has played host to nine U.S Opens, with Ben Hogan, Ernie Els and Johnny Miller sharing the venue record of -5. The fact that Miller constantly reminds us of his 63 – a record to this day – should take nothing away from his achievement.

Lee Trevino once remarked that every time he two-putted he passed someone on the leader board. Angel Cabrera proved this theory correct when he posted a +5 winning score back in 2007.

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2. The Bunkers

Oakmont has barely any water hazards and almost no trees. Built in the style of a links course, it’s the beach that can ruin a player’s scorecard. 210 traps are capped off by the legendary Church Pews Bunker.


3. The Greens

Oakmont inspired the invention of the Stimpmeter, a device used by the USGA to measure and rank the pace of greens. The inventor, Edward S. Stimpson, Sr., attended the 1935 open and was convinced the greens were unreasonably fast when he witnessed Gene Sarazan hit a putt.

Sam Snead once commented that he tried to mark his ball on one of Oakmont’s greens but the coin slid off.
This clip illustrates that danger perfectly.


4. The Rough

As Phil suggests, the organisers know exactly what they’re doing. “They let the rough grow long — if it’s wet they’ll leave it like that, if it’s dry they’ll thin it out because less balls will hit the fairway.”

This could be a determining factor when you consider the weather forecast for the next 10 days. Scattered showers might misinform the organisers into keeping the rough long and this will certainly affect the scoring average as the thermometer is expected to hit 90.

OAKMONT, PA - JUNE 17: Harrison Frazar hits out of the rough on the eighth hole during the final round of the 107th U.S. Open Championship at Oakmont Country Club on June 17, 2007 in Oakmont, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Harrison Frazar hits out of the rough on the eighth hole during the final round of the 107th U.S. Open Championship at Oakmont Country Club. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images).

I agree with Phil when he says this is the hardest venue ever played. I think the rough will be left long, the greens will be lightning fast and they will want to remind the world that this is a formidable challenge. Courses like Oakmont love their notoriety. So why wouldn’t they shoot for being “The Hardest Golf Course in the World”?

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