If you didn’t like the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay last June – and it seemed about as popular with purists as tofu casserole – then you’re probably going to love this U.S. Open.
It’s time for Oakmont, a golf course that would walk like Angel Cabrera if it had legs, its masculinity percolating in the summer air.
Oakmont is unforgivingly difficult, a champion of double bogeys and broken spirits. It has dungeons for bunkers, a jungle of tangled rough and greens that can put the fear of four-putting into Steve Stricker.
If you like traditional U.S. Opens, the kind where birdies are treated like burps in church and pars are sacred currency, then you’re going to love this one. Nothing says U.S. Open tough like a 288-yard par-3, though Oakmont’s eighth can play a tick or two longer depending on the mood of USGA executive director Mike Davis and his cohorts.
“It’s one of the ultimate tests in U.S. Open golf,” said Ernie Els, who won there 22 years ago on the same week when Arnold Palmer waved a tearful goodbye to his national championship. “It’s just a classic, great test.”
Oakmont could not be more different from Chambers Bay. Not only do they sit more than 2,000 miles apart, they belong to different eras.
Chambers Bay is a modern design, which got a bad rap from the viewing public because its greens turned to broccoli (Henrik Stenson’s word) during the U.S. Open last year. Forget who’s to blame for the putting surfaces and promise the U.S. Open will never return unless Chambers Bay is made more fan-friendly but don’t forget what happened there.
Oakmont, with all its fearsome qualities, would love to produce a Sunday leaderboard as good as the one Chambers Bay gave us. Jordan Spieth won and Dustin Johnson three-putted away his chance to win. The top 10 also included Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace, Adam Scott, Cameron Smith, Brandt Snedeker, Jason Day, Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy.
The best courses tend to bring out the best players so Chambers Bay has that going for it. So does Oakmont.
Consider U.S. Open winners at Oakmont: ….... READ FULL ARTICLE