The U.S. Open will be played at Oakmont Country Club for the ninth time next week. The first one occurred in 1927 when Tommy Armour won in a playoff with a score of 13 over. The most recent edition was in 2007 when Angel Cabrera beat Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk with a score of 5 over. This year's Open will likely be more like 2007 than 1927 when it comes to scoring. But it's still going to be rough when the best players on the planet tee it up on Thursday for the 116th United States Open.
Here are nine things you need to know about the course, the tournament and the field as the second major of the year gets underway.
1. Nearly 10,000 golfers entered the U.S. Open this year. The actual total was 9,877. This was the third most behind a record of 10,127 set in 2014 and 9,882 in 2015. The only qualification? You had to have a handicap of 1.4. The field was whittled down through 111 local qualifiers and 12 sectional ones.
2. Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer are honorary co-chairmen. This is fitting given that the two went to a playoff at the 1962 U.S. Open, which was also at Oakmont. Nicklaus won the tournament that year, the first of his record-setting 18 major championships.
3. The combined winning score in eight previous U.S. Opens at Oakmont is 9 over. Here's a list.
- Tommy Armour (1927): 13 over
- Sam Parks Jr. (1935): 11 over
- Ben Hogan (1953): 5 under
- Jack Nicklaus (1962): 1 under
- Johnny Miller (1973): 5 under
- Larry Nelson (1983): 4 under
- Ernie Els (1994): 5 under
- Angel Cabrera (2007): 5 over
4. No course has hosted more U.S. Opens than Oakmont. There are 18 courses that have hosted three or more U.S. Opens, but Oakmont stands alone at the top with nine of these babies. Baltusrol has seven. Oakland Hills has six. Merion, Olympic, Winged Foot and Pebble Beach have five each.
5. Oakmont contains the longest par 3 in U.S. Open history. The par-3 8th played to 261, 279, 281 and 300 yards during the four rounds of the tournament in 2007. Those are four of the five longest distances in par-3 U.S. Open history, including the three longest. It will play at most 288 yards this year. Jordan Spieth hit a 3-wood at the hole during his practice round on Sunday. A 3-wood! Into a par-3.
6. It also includes one of the two longest par 5s in U.S. Open history. The par-5 12th at Oakmont, which shares a tee box with the par-4 10th, played to 667 yards in 2007 which is presumably what it will play to again this year. The only one longer is the par-5 16th at Olympic Club in 2012 which played 671 yards. Surely Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy won't be able to reach it in two, right?
7. This will be the last tournament hosted by Oakmont head pro Bob Ford. The 37-year veteran head pro of Oakmont is hanging 'em up (and continuing as the head pro at Seminole in Florida) after this year's U.S. Open. His first job at Oakmont as a teen was during the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont when Johnny Miller shot one of the great rounds in major history with a 63 on Sunday to win. That led to this great exchange.
"That Sunday was quite a scene," Ford told Golf Digest. "I do recall saying to Mr. Worsham, 'I think they've run out of black numbers [for the leader boards]; all they're putting up for Mr. Miller are red numbers.' And he said, 'No, son, I think he's making birdies out there.'"
8. There are 11 amateurs in the field. The most notable include Scottie Scheffler of Texas, No. 1 ranked Jon Rahm of Arizona State and Christopher Crawford who got in the tournament the coolest way imaginable: by sinking a 40-foot putt on the final hole of sectional qualifying.
9. There are 210 bunkers at Oakmont. That's almost 12 per hole (for those who don't want to do the math). Players will prefer all of them to the ankle-high rough lining each hole.