The second major of the 2016 PGA Tour season is upon us as the USGA brings back a personal favorite in Oakmont CC. Oakmont has been the host to eight previous United States Open’s including 1927, 1935, 1953, 1962, 1973, 1983, 1994, and 2007. Oakmont is almost the first golf course in the United States to be listed as a National Historic Landmark. This year’s edition marks the 116th time the United States Open has been conducted. The last time the US Open was held at Oakmont in 2007, no player was under par as Angel Cabrera won with a five-over score. In fact, in all eight times that Oakmont has hosted the US Open, only 23 total players have been under par.
Dates: June 16-19 2016
Course: Oakmont CC
Stats: Par 70, 7,257 yards
Television Broadcast Coverage (Times):
Thursday: FS1-10:00 AM – 5:00 PM EST, FOX-5:00 – 8:00 PM EST
Friday: FS1-10:00 AM – 5:00 PM EST, FOX-5:00 – 8:00 PM EST
Saturday: FOX-11:00 – 7:00 PM EST
Sunday: FOX-11:00 – 7:30 PM EST
Purse: $10 million total purse
2016 116th US Open Predictions, Picks, Oakmont CC Hardest Impact Holes Breakdown
Hole No. 1 – Par 4, 482 Yards
There is no other way to say it, the opening hole at Oakmont is one of, if not the toughest, opening holes in all major championship golf. You would expect a large landing zone for a 482 yard par-4 but that is not the case. A narrow landing area is coupled with bunkering on both sides just awaiting an errant tee shot. The unique shape of the green complex at the opening hole will see most players approach shots short of the green and let the natural slope bring the ball in. The green at the first is full of subtleties that will exacerbate any mistake made by a player. This hole was ranked third hardest during the 2007 US Open.
Hole No. 3 – Par 4, 428 Yards
The famed “Church Pew” bunkers make their appearance here at number three. But they are more of a view then a factor at this hole. The real challenge are the bunkers near the green after players play a properly shaped tee shot. When playing an approach at three the players must be precise. The raised green may cause short shots to come back down the slope while a shot that runs long is destined to meet demise in the rear bunkers. Like almost every hole at Oakmont, lapses of judgement bring eminent demise. This hole was ranked ninth hardest during the 2007 US Open.
Hole No. 16 – Par 3, 231 Yards
The closing stretch at Oakmont is both daunting and entertaining. It begins with the 231 yard tee shot at 16 that could be met with anything from mid-iron to hybrid given the unique wind conditions that could be present. The green slopes on both sides and is fronted by a deep bunker on the right of the back-to-front slope. As long as players take a breather and do not let the moment get to big for them, they can play to the center of this green, make par and move on. This hole was ranked 10th hardest during the 2007 US Open.
Hole No. 17 – Par 4, 313 Yards
This hole is more about entertainment and risk-reward instead of pure difficulty. There are multiple tee boxes here albeit all similarly close. You will see anything from a mid-iron to driver off this tee over the week. Deep rough, an interesting green, and some tough greenside bunker shot make this a real risk-reward where players can make eagle to double-bogey. It makes for great theatre, especially on Sunday afternoon. This hole was ranked 16th hardest during the 2007 US Open.
Hole No. 18 – Par 4, 484 Yards
What a way to end the US Open. Step on the tee at 18 and you are on one of the most challenging closing hole in all of competitive golf. The irony is that it does not “look” like a monster from the tee. However, after player see the narrowing landing area around 275 yards off the box then the realization sets in. The mid to long-iron approach (hybrid for some) uphill to the large green brings with it many bunkers with deadly shots into a green that is hard pressed to find a pure flat spot. The approach is validated by the 33 percent hit rate, despite its size, during the last US Open held here. The beauty here is that a one shot lead is not safe, neither is two, which build I the drama that many crave during a major championship. This hole was ranked toughest during the 2007 US Open.
2016 116th US Open Predictions, Picks, Oakmont CC Hardest Impact Holes Player Selections
Let’s take a look at three players that I would predict to be right in the hunt coming down the stretch on Sunday at the 2016 US Open. Two players will seem more logical than the other but I am adding a player that just might surprise, basically a sleeper for success at the 2016 116th US Open Predictions, Picks, Oakmont CC Hardest Impact Holes
|Phil Mickelson||He has been planning and playing towards this moment all year.. He modified his normal routine a couple of years ago to set this moment in play. He is winless again this year but has been playing some solid golf overall with five top-10s, a third, and two runner-ups including last week. He has been the US Open runner-up an unfathomable six times. While cut in 2007, he does have an advantage of playing un US pen conditions here before.|
|Dustin Johnson||As the years move on it is becomes harder to believe that Dustin is still without a major championship to his credit. He is back again this year in hopes of squashing what was and what could have been last year. He is packed with all the talent in the world and it appears his putter goes fluky when he feels the pressure. If he can rebound and learn from last year this course could be exactly what he needs. He has seven top-5s this year including in his last two starts with his last competitive round being a 63. Look out.|
|Angel Cabrera||Some may agree that he is a sleeper while others may not. He is in his mid-40s and carries with him only three PGA Tour wins throughout his career. One of those matters a bit. The 2007 US Open here at Oakmont. That year he was not playing particularly well and frankly came out of nowhere to outlast the rest of the field and win it at 5-over. That is perfectly doable given how he plays, his ball flight, and how he can stay calm and joke in a situation where things will get nutty. Don't be shocked if he does this again!|