OAKMONT, Pa. (AP) — Vaughn Taylor is back at Oakmont, relieved that it’s only the U.S. Open.
There has been widespread talk of gloom and doom in recent weeks, from defending champion Geoff Ogilvy reportedly losing seven balls in his round of 85 to Vijay Singh and a host of others saying they would not be surprised if the winner finished 10 shots over par.
Oakmont is reputed to be the toughest golf course in America, but as it prepares to host its record eighth U.S. Open, there is another part of the mystique that players should keep in mind.
If you think it’s tough now, come back in July.
“The members say we don’t have to do anything except maybe make it slightly easier,” said Mike Davis, the USGA’s senior director of rules and competition who sets up the course for the toughest test in golf.
Taylor can attest to that.
He hasn’t played in the U.S. Open since 1998, when he was spooked by the narrow fairways and high rough. But he has been to Oakmont twice in the last few years to play a corporate outing, and the greens were unlike any he has played.
“I had two four-putts and three three-putts, and I putted pretty good that day,” said Taylor, one of the best on the PGA Tour. “The greens are slower now than they usually are.”
Monday was the first day of practice for the U.S. Open. Along with some of the fastest greens anywhere, the rough is as punishing as ever.