The right rough stuff: There’s always a chance that Oakmont might use its mowers in a kindly manner before the U.S. Open but, no, of course I’m just kidding. Here’s more from Furyk about his Oakmont visit:
DATE: Jun 16 – Jun 19
TOURNAMENT: U.S. Open Golf Live
Oakmont Country Club, Oakmont, PA
DEFENDING CHAMP: Jordan Spieth
“I played with some relatives and friends and watched a kid in my group hit a ball 10 or 20 feet from where I was standing and we couldn’t find it for about a minute,” he said. “I mean, I knew within a one-foot-by-one-foot circle where the ball was and we couldn’t find it for 40 seconds. He didn’t even play it, he couldn’t see it to hit it. It was like it had a comb-over on it.
“The fairways are at a big canter, the bunkers are like British Open bunkers, you don’t have a shot to the green most of the time and the greens aren’t receptive, they’re usually sloped hard in one direction. Like on the first hole, you might as well hit it over and green and chip back up the slope. It’s tough even without U.S. Open conditions.
He knows Jack: Jack Nicklaus hasn’t forgotten about the tribulations of trying to win a major championship and he tells a story about it by way of trying to explain Jordan Spieth’s Masters disaster at Amen Corner in April.
“In 1960, I was 20 years old and leading the U.S. Open,” Nicklaus said. “I was leading the Open and playing with Ben Hogan. I had a very good chance to win, nine holes to go. I was still leading with six holes to play. I looked at a leaderboard, which had Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Mike Souchak, Ted Kroll and Jack Fleck one shot behind me. And I proceeded to fall apart like a three-dollar suitcase. I three-putted 13, three-putted 14, missed a couple of short birdie putts and bogeyed the last hole to lose by two shots.
“I would have loved to win that tournament, but maybe the best thing that ever happened to me was the learning experience. Did it destroy my life? No. And it won’t destroy Jordan’s life.
“I came back and in ’63, I was trying to win my first British Open. And I had what I thought was a two-shot lead with two holes to play at Lytham. I remember it like it was yesterday. I had a shot off the tee in perfect position. I had 212 yards to the hole. Pin was at the back of the green. And my caddy, Jimmy Dickinson, says, 3-iron is plenty. I said, No, I can’t get 3-iron back there. Jimmy said, You don’t need to. I wasn’t smart, I was too young. So I hit 2-iron through the green and didn’t get up and down. I made bogey, and bogeyed the last hole. I lost the tournament by a shot. I learned from that. But you have to make that mistake to learn it.”