Father’s Day is right around the corner, and that means it’s U.S. Open time! As we head into this season’s second major, here are 5 storylines to get you pumped up for Oakmont.
1. The Course
The U.S. Open returns to Oakmont C.C., a premier venue that is widely regarded as America’s toughest golf course. This will be the ninth year the U.S. Open has been played at Oakmont, and past years have yielded a great list of champions that includes Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Miller. Oakmont’s 7,255 yard, par 70 layout isn’t as long as other courses in the USGA’s rotation, but few others feature such penal bunkering and treacherously sloping green complexes. This week’s winner will have to have command of all aspects of his game at America’s best test of golf.
2. The Big 3
Jason Day, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy all head into the U.S. Open with a win in the past month. Over the years, Oakmont has proven to favor golf’s elite players, which should bode well for one of these three players in bringing home a title.
3. Phil's Quest
46-year-old Phil Mickelson comes in looking to put the cherry on top of his hall of fame career by capturing the career grand slam with a win at the U.S. Open. Mickelson has had his fair share of close calls, finishing runner-up on 6 separate occasions. Lefty is having a solid 2016 campaign and looks to be in top form after contending at last week’s St. Jude. Could this be the year he overcomes his past heartbreak?
4. The Amateur
After the past few majors (2016 Masters, 2015 Open Championship & 2015 U.S. Open), we have grown accustomed to a talented amateur or two contending for the championship. 6 amateurs made the cut in last year’s U.S. Open, the most since 1966. This year’s group of 12 amateurs includes NCAA Champion and MacKenzie Tour Q-School winner Aaron Wise, University of Illinois Sophomore Nick Hardy (who made the cut at last year’s championship) and Texas standout Scottie Scheffler. Don’t be surprised to see one of these ams find their way onto the leaderboard.
5. The Coverage
Last year, the new broadcast team (Fox) drew a tough hand with non-traditional Chambers Bay as its first U.S. Open site. The course got a lot of criticism for its bumpy greens, poor spectator experience and browned out appearance. Couple the course with a first time partnering of Joe Buck and Greg Norman (who has since been replaced), and Fox’s approval ratings - ahem - tanked. However, a new year brings a new broadcast. With the eccentric Paul Azinger replacing Norman, the best U.S. Open venue setting the scene, and plans to continue to push the limits on technology used in the telecast, we expect this year’s broadcast to be a slam dunk.