Oakmont makes for a tough Open
The many sand bunkers are bound to be a challenge for the players on a course that could make even the most competent golfer loathe the game
When the players take part in the US Open at Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania on Thursday, not only will they compete against one another, they will also have to grapple with the difficult nature of the course.
Unlike many other venues that have previously hosted the world’s second major, Oakland is unique in that it has virtually no water hazards and, since 2007, almost no trees.
But what is conspicuous on the course is its many bunkers. They give golfers a hard time, as they find it hard to execute shots out of the sand. This will again be the case when competition gets into full swing.
The last time the Open came to the venue was in 2007, when Argentinian Ángel Cabrera struggled before beating Americans Jim Furyk and Tiger Woods by one stroke – scoring five over-par for a total of 279.
So atrocious was the course that birdies were rarely registered on the day. The same scenario could play itself out this time around.
To give golfers something to whinge about, holes two, six, nine and 15 will be there to take the stuffing out of the competitors (see graphic). These holes have to be approached skilfully as the greens
The course is noted for its slope. In particular, on holes one, three, 10 and 12, the greens pitch away from the fairway – making top-class competitors look amateurish.
All eyes will be on defending champion Jordan Spieth to see if he can hold onto his title.
The American registered underpar five for 275 at Chambers Bay, Washington, last year.
South Africa’s double winners, Ernie Els (1994 and 1997) and Retief Goosen (2001 and 2004), should be looking forward to showing the Oakmont galleries what they are made of. They will be joined by countrymen Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Branden Grace and Jaco van Zyl.
With the cream of the crop showcasing their skills to show who can beat the greens, it will be interesting to note how many birdies and eagles will be written onto the Oakmont leader board.