I'm already giddy. Do I want four-putts and quadruple bogeys every week on the PGA Tour? No, I do not. But once a year at the U.S. Open, it's sort of fun to watch professional golfers squirm and writhe as they try their hardest to just score even par.
Phil Mickelson, like Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and others took a recon mission to Oakmont this week which is the site of this year's U.S. Open. Mickelson, who has finished second six times at this event, is looking to touch off the career grand slam next week.
He said on Wednesday that's going to be crazy difficult.
"I've played Oakmont the last two days, and I really think it is the hardest golf course we've ever played," said Mickelson. "They don't know what the weather is going to be next week, if it's going to be dry or if it's going to be wet. So what they do is they let the rough grow long, and if it is wet, they'll leave it like that, and if it's dry they'll thin it out. So yesterday the rough was extremely long, I guess, and challenging.
"It's a very fair test, even though it's hard. But a lot of golf courses, when they challenge you tee to green the way Oakmont does, it usually has a little bit of a reprieve on the greens. You really don't at Oakmont. They're some of the most undulating, fast, difficult greens to putt. It really is the hardest golf course I think we've played."
Jim Furyk said much of the same this week in his podcast with Geoff Shackelford and Joe House. He compared playing this year to going to the principal's office. Mickelson, however, said he's still convinced he can get that career slam.
"The reason why I'm optimistic about Oakmont is that it doesn't require me to hit a lot of drivers," said Mickelson. "It requires me to get the ball in play off the tee, but when I'm not hitting drivers, if I'm hitting 3-woods, hybrids, I feel confident I'm able to do that a fairly high percentage of the time. One of the strengths of my game over the last decade or so that's really helped me win the tournaments I've won is lag putting. So if I have a good week lag putting where I'm able to have easy pars from anywhere on the green, that's going to lead to a good week. That's why I'm optimistic. However, it's a U.S. Open and you get on a bad streak and you start missing fairways there, which isn't exactly uncommon in my game, it is difficult."
Daniel Berger, a rookie on tour last year, echoed the fairways sentiment.
"Over par will win," Berger told Golf Channel after playing the course. "You have got to hit the fairway and the greens are fast. It's a major championship test. I played the Open at Pinehurst and it's nothing like that. You miss the fairway and you are screwed."
Bring on the carnage!