The 116th U.S. Open Golf Championship might be the toughest one yet.
The best players in the world have converged on Oakmont Country Club in Plum, Pennsylvania, a course with a long history of punishing anything less than golf perfection. Tommy Armour won the 1927 U.S. Open at Oakmont with a score of +13. Sam Parks, Jr. did it in 1935 with +11. Angel Cabrera did it in 2007 with +5. Scores that would mean missing the cut in other tournaments can often be good enough to put a player in title contention at Oakmont.
So, what makes the course so tough? For one, the greens are wickedly wavy and faster than a Walmart parking lot. Sam Snead once famously remarked, "I tried to mark my ball on one of Oakmont's greens, but the coin slid off." There are also bunkers everywhere you look, including the massive "Church Pews," a 100-yard-long hazard filled with grassy ridges. But perhaps the most challenging aspect of Oakmont is the rough. There's long rough, and then there's the rough at Oakmont. If you hit it in the second cut, your ball will likely disappear into a tangled mess of 4-1/2-inch grass.
USGA's Mike Davis says Oakmont primary rough will be 2½-3 inches and high rough at 4½ inches. Course setup based on weather tomorrow.
— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelESPN) June 15, 2016
The rough at Oakmont looks a little thick pic.twitter.com/ST7LJidh3b
— College Golf (@College_Golfers) June 12, 2016
Oakmont's rough is like rough on steroids. You can't advance it 10 yards sometimes #parsaregood
— Daniel Berger (@DanielBerger59) June 6, 2016
Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson figured out a novel way to escape Oakmont's hellish rough:
— bubba watson (@bubbawatson) June 14, 2016
There's been word that the rough was trimmed down a bit before the official start of competition after tournament organizers saw how much trouble it was giving the players in practice—but it should still be plenty punishing. To achieve success at Oakmont, a golfer must be able to minimize his frustration and successfully use mental toughness techniques. We'll be watching closely to see who has the physical and mental prowess to conquer this challenging course.
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