Oakmount has two main areas of defence, the rough and the greens. The rough is absolutely brutal in almost all spots. There are strategically placed bunkers off the tee awaiting wayward drives as well as some other awkward spots which will make approach shots difficult. The greens are like absolute lightning and if you find the wrong spots 3 putts are inevitable. It all makes for a very tricky test of golf. When Angel Cabrera won here back in 2007 the winning score was 5 over.
Thunderstorms and rain are forecast for Wednesday and Thursday which could play havoc with the schedule but it could also render the course slightly less difficult than what is expected. That is a waiting game we'll let play out as it wouldn't exactly help in our quest to find a winner.
The leaderboard in 2007 was made up of golfers with different skills. We had the bigger hitters like Cabrera, Woods and Watson mixed in with the more plodding types of Furyk, Toms, Kelly, Verplank and Ames. It will help to hit the ball long and straight this week but those who can increase probability of hitting fairways will no doubt be in the ascendancy as they approach greens. Nevertheless it is far from easy to sift out a winner. Jason Day has been supported into slight favourite in the market ahead of Rory McIlroy. The test should suit Day as his accurate long game is exactly what is needed around here. It won't be easy however and despite a run of superb form I'm not busting to get involved in anyone in this event at single figures.
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Similar applies to McIlroy. He is driving the ball and very well and is the one most likely to make mince meat of this test while everyone else struggles to horrendous totals. Out of the favs he was the one I was most tempted by but I feel it'd be safer playing him in running if he gets off to a fast start.
It leaves us with a bomber who just must be backed to overpower this course, Dustin Johnson. He arrives at Oakmount probably in the form of his career. He has posted six top five finishes in his last nine starts and the only baffling thing is how he hasn't won during that period. He has finished 2nd and 4th in the last two US Open renewals and Oakmount may just be the venue where Dusty gets off the major mark.
There is a fair amount of trouble off the tee and when Johnson is hitting the ball well he flies as much of it as he possibly can. This will be mean approach shots with loftier clubs than the rest of the field so he can attack the right areas of the greens. He has been knocking down flags for the last number of weeks and if he can continue that accuracy with his short irons he should be right in the mix come the weekend. His putting would worry you slightly but I'm taking whatever positives I can possibly find. DJ lags the ball to the hole and rarely gets it running too far past, this will help if he can lag putts towards the hole as danger will no doubt lurk beyond the cups.
The greens will make fools of plenty this week and we can only hope the big hitting yank can cope with that. The 16/1 out there represents the best value in the field in my opinion and although this will be far from easy I see DJ as well equipped for the task.