The Top 5 from Oakmont…
Welcome back to the track that rolls out the mat for a record 9th time.READ MORE: College Park Skyhawks Beat NBA G League Ignite By 10
It’s my favorite of the “Big Four” and here’s why:
1. At least it’s not a goat track, (like Chambers’ Bay last year); although this week the guys will have to “rough it”. Even though the players bellyached and got the primary cut down, it’s still at four and a half inches, while the secondary’s only a little better at three and a half inches. You think the rough is tough at your course, this thick you can’t even see the ball, (at least they have the luxury of spotters).
2. Instead of a caddie, the guys may opt for a camel. This course has 210 bunkers. Yes, you read right, 210! Not to mention the “church pews” that come into play on both the third and fourth holes. Hit it in there and you’re looking at a big number. Have you ever seen a bunker that’s 100 yards long? Believe me there will be plenty who will “genuflect”.
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3. The greens are faster than putting on your bath tub, could be as high as 14 on the Stimpmeter, (10 is considered high); Combine the speed, along with the sand and rough, most of the guys if asked before they tee if they could just walk away from the course with par would say “sold”. During a practice round, Rickie Fowler putted from one of the front edges, uphill, with the pin cut in the middle, barely touched the ball and it rolled 15 feet beyond the hole. Hit the rock in the wrong place and it’s almost a guaranteed “bogey”, at best.
4. Some of the holes are ridiculous. The par 5’s play over “600” yards, while a couple of the par 3’s are over 230, with one that could max out at a shade under 300 yards! You better be precise. One of the oldest adages in course management is “walk off the 3’s with par and accept it, go birdie hunting somewhere else”.
5. Which of the kids will exorcise the demons? Can Jordan Spieth bounce back from his “Masters’ Disaster”? Will it be Jason Day’s day? Will Dustin Johnson play a clean tournament without a “amateur” blunder, (think-grounding a club in a hazard, I still can’t believe); or, will the ole’ man, (who turns 46 on Thursday); Phil Mickelson finally shake the jinx and add the only major missing from the mantle to complete the slam?
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Not that I like to see the guys struggle, but I do enjoy seeing them navigate the track like the rest of us and “rough it”.