Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

We Haven't Seen Oakmont's Nasty Best at This Open

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

We Haven't Seen Oakmont's Nasty Best at This Open

Article excerpt

The Oakmont Country Club members sitting on the covered patio behind the ninth green aren't taking nominations for the most amazing shots they've witnessed during the three rounds of the U.S. Open. Mostly because what they are witnessing they've never seen before at their club.

Here is a prime example:

In his first round Friday morning, Sergio Garcia hit his tee shot at No. 10 in the deep rough left of the fairway, an area from which there is little chance, if any, of stopping an approach on the green. Any good Oakmont caddie will tell you the only way to do so is land your ball about 15-20 yards short of the green and let it trundle on to the surface. With any luck, it will stop somewhere near the back of the green, which tilts sharply away from the player.

Johnny Miller called that green "the craziest in the world ... devious." It is so severe Phil Mickelson four-putted there in 2007.

Garcia not only stopped his ball on the surface, 9 feet from the hole, he did so by landing his approach on the green. That is hard to do from the tightly mowed grass in the fairway, let alone the 4-inch strands of rough.

But Garcia did. And, to further snub his nose at Oakmont lore, he made the putt for birdie.

The members on the porch couldn't see any of that because the 10th green sits below the fairway, out of view from their location. Good thing, though. They wouldn't have believed it.

Crazy things have been happening for three days at Oakmont, where the U.S. Open is starting to look like a U.S. Open, but Oakmont is still not looking like Oakmont.

Oh, sure, the club beat up some of the best players in the world. Four former U.S. Open champions missed the cut, led by Rory McIlroy, who double-bogeyed his final hole to miss by two shots. Phil Mickelson missed the cut for only the third time in 26 U.S. Open appearances. Two of those have been at Oakmont. …

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