OAKMONT, Pa. — It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Oakmont had the potential this year to provide the toughest U.S. Open test in modern history. It was true the last time it played host to the national championship, in 2007, when Angel Cabrera won on a course that surrendered just eight under-par scores all week.
But players were thrown a major break in the first round, especially those playing at the start of the day. It rained in Pittsburgh late on Wednesday night (actually, it poured), and it’s scheduled to do so again on Thursday afternoon. That’ll make the rough more difficult for players to hit out of — thick rough is all the nastier when it’s thick and wet — but on the whole it’ll make the course “much, much easier,” according to Adam Scott. The greens won’t be as fast and they’ll be more receptive, and the fairways won’t run out as much, making them easier to hit.
Speaking on Wednesday:
“I was here a week and a half ago, and it was playing nice and firm,” Scott said. “I played a round in firm conditions. It rained a lot that night, and we came out, and I played the next day with Rory, and both of us probably made five or six birdies each that day, playing really nice.”
So what does that mean for golf fans? It means that scores are probably going to go lower in the first two days than initially expected. They won’t get too low — it’s still a really hard course, after all, and the rough is still punishing — but it’d be a surprise if those in contention weren’t in single-digits under par heading into the weekend.
The forecast expects lots of sun and heat for the final two days though, so the course will dry out again, at which point the real fun will begin.