U.S. Open (Oakmont CC) – Fantasy Golfanac

Course Details

Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pennsylvania
7,255 yards – Par 70 – Poa Annua Greens
Designer: Henry Fownes (1903)
–> Course used most recently in 2007 and 1994 U.S. Opens

Tournament Stimpmeter: 14 ft. … FASTTTTT Green Speeds
Green Sizes: 7,000 sq. feet .. Larger Green Sizes
Strength of Field Rating: 600+ OWGR … Strong Field Strength

Tournament Angles

#1 Par 70 Courses
#2 Hard Courses
#3 Fast Greens
#4 Less-than-Driver Courses
#5 Strong Field Events
#6 Hard-to-Hit Greens
#7 Performance in Majors
#8 Poa Annua Greens

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Previous Winners

2015: Jordan Spieth -5 over Dustin Johnson, Louis Oothuizen -4
2014: Martin Kaymer -9 over Rickie Fowler, Erik Compton -1
2013: Justin Rose +1 over Phil Mickelson, Jason Day +3
2012: Webb Simpson +1 over Michael Thompson, Graeme Mcdowell +2
2011: Rory McIlroy -16 over Jason Day -8
2010: Graeme McDowell Even over Gregory Havret +1

54-Hole Leaders

2015: Jason Day, Branden Grace, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth -4
2014: Martin Kaymer -8
2013: Phil Mickelson -1
2012: Graeme McDowell, Jim Furyk -1
2011: Rory McIlroy -14
2010: Dustin Johnson -6

36-Hole Leaders

2015: Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed -5
2014: Martin Kaymer -10
2013: Phil Mickelson, Billy Horschel -1
2012: Jim Furyk, David Toms, Tiger Woods -1
2011: Rory McIlroy -11
2010: Graeme McDowell -3

Fantasy Feud Golf Contests

Tournament Horses (since 2010)

Matt Kuchar … 51.121 strokes gained in 24 rounds
Brandt Snedeker … 50.244 strokes gainedd in 20 rounds
Jason Day … 50.202 strokes gained in 20 rounds
Charl Schwartzel … 44.897 strokes gained in 22 rounds
Dustin Johnson … 43.218 strokes gained in 22 rounds
Martin Kaymer … 42.694 strokes gained in 22 rounds
Rory McIlroy … 40.253 strokes gained in 20 rounds

Oakmont Horses (since 1994)

Scott Verplank … 21.224 strokes gained in 8 rounds
Jim Furyk … 20.224 strokes gained in 8 rounds
Ernie Els … 18.224 strokes gained in 8 rounds
Angel Cabrera … 16.464 strokes gained in 4 rounds
Tiger Woods … 15.646 strokes gained in 4 rounds

Important Interview Quotes

Q. You never missed the cut in the U.S. Open; what makes you so good in this tournament?
Yes, well, I definitely usually play very well in the U.S. Open. Most of the time I’m not making any putts, but this week it was like everybody was missing the putts. So that gave me an advantage. -2007

Q. In terms of difficulty, how would you compare this course with Winged Foot, and what are the key differences between the two courses as an Open challenge?
Depends on how you set them up. The way we played Winged Foot last year on the weekend, it was really tough. Winged Foot is narrower than here, or the way it was set up last year, Winged Foot was narrower than here.
The greens here are the obvious challenge to me. Everything else out there is similar U.S. Open. It’s narrowish fairways, pretty good rough, bunkers, and the greens here are something different. They are amazing greens. I mean, they are probably some of my favorite greens I’ve ever seen. They run a bit faster than maybe they should in spots.
The key here is to keep it inside the rough and to keep it under the hole on the green. You’re probably better off even off the green under the hole than you are on the green above the hole. -2007

Q. I guess the question is, can you re-injure or hurt your wrist more during this week, and did you ever think about not playing and let it actually heel itself up completely to go through the other majors?
No to the latter part. And probably if I don’t overdo it any one day, it should — it should be fine on it’s own in a couple of weeks. Again, as long as I don’t overaggravate, which is why I’m taking it day-to-day. But it’s continuing to go down and the inflammation has gone down. -2007

Q. When you are playing such a stressful golf course, what is going on differently in your head than when you’re playing a standard course?
Well, the thing is that’s one of the things about the U.S. Open. There’s not really much room to bail out. So it is quite — it is quite nerve-wracking on the tee. Even though the fairways this week are not as narrow as we’re used to seeing in U.S. Opens, they don’t need to be. But you know that you have to hit the fairway to have a chance of hitting a decent shot into the green.
You know, it just puts a little bit of extra pressure. -2007

Q. We always hear about how brutal the greens are, but people have been having good weeks on them like you did in ’94. What’s the key to putting these greens and to playing them well?
Well, it starts really from the tee. You’ve got to get yourself in good position off the tees and then into the greens you’ve got to — the better position you have in the fairway, the better you can either attack the flag or the greens or play it safe. The good thing you have to do is really try and keep yourself under the hole. If that’s playing away from the flag, you know, try and do that.
I remember in ’94, I think I was — I think I was No. 1 either in greens reg or in putting, one of the two. The more greens you hit over here this week, you know, the better you’re going to score. And this week, particularly, the rough is unbelievable. So you’ve really got to — even if you go with a 3-iron off the tee, make sure you hit the fairway and then try and hit it on the green. This is serious U.S. Open golf here this week. It’s at its best. -2007

Q. Some of the players said that hitting driver would be better than hitting irons and laying back into greens. Will you employ that aggressive strategy or will you take your chances with longer approaches into the severe greens?
As I say, I think the way this golf course is set up, this is the classic U.S. Open setup. If you’re going to miss a shot here, whether it’s with a 3-wood off the tee into the rough or a driver into the rough, you’re not getting to the green with your second shot.
So you’ve got to have a strategy where you feel you can make par from. If you make a birdie, you’ve got one hell of a bonus, you know. And it depends on conditions. If we have rain, I think I will put the driver in play on quite a few more holes. If it stays the way it is now where the ball is running, you know, I’m going to play conservatively off the tee and get myself in the fairway and take it from there.
It’s really a second-shot golf course in many ways. But you’ve got to get yourself in play and then get the right lines into the greens. So the longer hitters, I can’t see longer hitters using driver more than 50 percent of the time. -2007

Q. Rain happened yesterday and you couldn’t control nature but if it stays dry today this course might be the easiest today it’s going to play; if it stays dry do you see this course playing —
You never know. This golf course is hard and it’s as hard to make birdies out there and it’s easy to make bogeys and doubles. And you have to hit the ball — now the wind is blowing and moving tee shots and these fairways are all tilted so it makes it more difficult. -2007

Q. How many drivers did you hit today?
Six. -2007

Q. How often did you go with driver?
I went a little less today. You know, we made a game plan last night to go with a few less drivers than normal. Normally go with seven. Practice rounds we go with seven both days, so half those. -2007

Q. What did you use for a driver today?
I hit a four, missed two fairways left, two right, and I didn’t want to — I’m trying to stay balanced here. -2007

GRAEME McDOWELL: I have to say, I have never felt so uncomfortable on a putting surface in my life as I do out there. Doesn’t matter if you’re ten feet, 20 feet, 50 feet, they are awful. They are scary. They are really scary. -2007

Q. Is there any thought of using more 3-woods instead of 2-iron off the tee?
It’s hard because the 3-wood brings me into trouble, the numbers bring me right into the bunkers, so the 2-iron leaves me in a spot I can play from.
But, granted, it’s a little far back but — 72 — straight pars wins the tournament. Like the first hole here today was dead into the wind but 3-wood brought me into the traps, driver brought me into the traps, so I just hit 2-iron and got it up to par. -2007

Q. Some players have said this week that this course does not put a premium on length. How has your length been an advantage these two days for you?
You know, I’m hitting 5- and 6-irons on some of the par-4s off the tee. That’s a little bit easier to hit than somebody hitting a 3-iron or 2-iron or 3-wood or 5-wood.
The hole that everybody has been talking about, No. 8, I’m hitting 3-iron both days and not having a problem with it. So, I mean, you could say it’s helping me a little bit. Just I can hit shorter clubs into some of these holes and maybe hit it a little bit higher to stop it. Just happy to hit ’em straight right now. -2007

Q. How hard has it actually been to curb your instinct with the driver; to be hitting 6-irons off par 4 tees, has it been something you’ve had to work at or do you just see what’s out in front of you?
Today jokingly on No. 14, it’s 358, straight downwind, so I walk up to the tee after I made birdie and my caddie, Teddy, said, “Think I should hit driver, I can get there.” He goes, “I know you can get there but this is what we’re hitting.” -2007

Q. Do you have a U.S. Open-style game?
No. Probably complete opposite of a U.S. Open; more of a British Open. I don’t really drive it that straight for as medium length as I am but I’m a great grinder. I love it when conditions are tough. I love getting up-and-down for pars. I love making eight, nine, ten-footers for par and I guess that style fits it. But had a good day with the driver today. If I have two more days with the driver like I did today I’ll be fine. -2007

Q. Do you see the USGA in some ways as kind of the last guardian of the game? There’s a struggle between the modern power player and the old guard, and I know they feel as though the emphasis on hitting fairways has been lessened at the professional level. Do you see them as the last sort of guardian and do you agree with that position?
Well, it’s almost Oakmont. I don’t know that it’s USGA. Their fairways average 26 or 27 yards wide here with probably the most severe bunkering of any course you’ll ever play, so let alone the rough. The fairway bunkering and 28-yard wide fairways, I’m a firm believer if the tour average was the same, you’d see some similarities. -2007

Q. How good did that round feel today? How good was it? Can you put it into perspective?
That round probably ranks as one of my finest ever, as long as I’ve been playing golf. A shame to have a blemish on the card with the bogey on 18 but I consider the U.S. Open to be the toughest test in golf and Oakmont could possibly be the toughest golf course I’ve ever played with the setup today.
So I feel very fortunate to walk off the golf course with a 66. I don’t want to build it up anymore than that, because, you know, the USGA might start putting pins in places we can’t get to. -2007

Q. Are these greens the hardest —
Without a doubt. You say Augusta is hard, yeah, but they have flat spots where they put the pins.
Today they put a few of the pins on slopes, which made it a little more interesting. They could have — all they needed to do is go two feet off the slope in a flat spot but they put them just on a slope. So all the putts had a little more break on them. Something you probably couldn’t see on TV, but if you go out there and take a look at them, you would say they are interesting pins and a heck of a challenge. -2007

Q. What would be your favorite?
The one I would really want to win is the Open Championship. The one that suits my game the best is the Masters. The one that least suits my game is the U.S. Open but I’ve got a chance. (Laughter.) I’m excited. -2007

All quotes from ASAPsports.com unless otherwise noted.

Tournament Notes

2007: Course received rain prior to R1 which lead to more receptive greens but the field still averaged 75.32. The field average score for the week was 75.7, +5.7 relative-to-par.