Final rehearsals complete for U.S. Open at Oakmont
Workers around Oakmont Country Club spent a wind-filled Sunday mowing, rolling out chain-link fences and ropes, and finishing last-minute tasks in preparation for the Monday arrival of spectators for the U.S. Open.
For many golfers in the 156-player field, preparation for the tournament, which runs Thursday through Sunday after practice rounds Monday through Wednesday, already has begun.
Brandt Snedeker got his reunion with Oakmont out of the way early, arriving Friday. Ranked No. 18 in the world entering this week, Snedeker said Friday was his first time back at Oakmont since the 2007 Open in which he finished 15-over-par and tied for 23rd, 10 strokes behind winner Angel Cabrera.
Three days back in Western Pennsylvania gave Snedeker a better sense of the course's setup. The greens played fast, he said, so naturally there were a few reminders of 2007.
“It was brutal,” said Snedeker, who was tied for eighth at 4-over after two rounds in 2007. “I remember it being brutally tough and just realizing it's how to think your way around the golf course and stay patient and realize that par might be 70, but it's not really 70.”
This U.S. Open will be Snedeker's 10th. Now 35, he said he has a better sense of how to plan his tournament week. He said he likes to arrive a couple of days in advance and get a feel for the course so much of his preparation is complete by the time things are at their busiest.
“I've learned to come here a little early and kind of avoid the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday madness out here because it takes a lot out of you,” Snedeker said. “You kind of learn to take it easy, and that's why I get here early.”
The strategy has proven effective. Snedeker has made the cut in seven of his nine U.S. Open starts and has four top-10 finishes, including an eighth-place showing at Chambers Bay last year.
“You make sure you have a good head on your shoulders, that you're fresh and ready for the challenge and not stressing out about anything,” Snedeker said. “I've had a couple weeks off and am refreshed and ready to go.”
Sunday served as an introduction to Oakmont for a few players in the field, including Billy Horschel, who has made 12 straight cuts but has not played in a tournament since The Players Championship in mid-May.
Horschel, who ranked 55th in the world Sunday, made his U.S. Open debut in 2006 at another notoriously tough course, Winged Foot.
On Sunday, he left Oakmont believing its difficult reputation.
“It played like Oakmont,” Horschel said, laughing. “It's a true U.S. Open test. I like that we're playing a true golf course that the best player that week is going to be on top. I mean, there's not a hole out there where you think, ‘OK, this is easy.' ”