Oakmont is steeped with history for the U.S. Open. In 1962, a young Jack Nicklaus beat local hero Arnold Palmer in an 18-hole playoff for the first of his 18 major championship victories that also launched one of golf’s great rivalries. In 1973, Johnny Miller shot a record 63 in the final round to win the tournament by a single stroke, etching himself in golf history with one of the greatest rounds ever played.
Oakmont also hosted the 1983, 1994, and 2007 U.S. Opens, along with a handful of other major tournaments including three PGA Championships and five U.S. Amateurs.
As we head into this year’s tournament, let’s look at some of the biggest questions this tournament hopes to answer.
How Will Jordan Spieth Recover?
This is easily the biggest question of the week. Following his meltdown on at The Masters — most notably his quadruple bogey on the 12th hole — the golf world wants to see how Spieth responds to major pressure once again.
Spieth recorded one of the best seasons in golf history last year, winning two majors and finishing in the top top five in all four. According to news reports he spent the off-season cashing in on that run, traveling the world and picking up appearance fees but also wearing himself out in the process.
While he again shone the first three days at Augusta, Spieth buckled on the final day. He still has a long career ahead of him, but with golf being such a mental sport, it will be interesting to see how he reacts with the tournament on the line again.
Spieth remains a favorite among betters, especially at the U.S. Open. With straight drivers and an unrivaled putting touch, Spieth was made to compete at the U.S. Open. However, this guide on golf betting notes that it’s important to to check a player’s recent form, so the Master’s meltdown is definitely something to consider if you plan to wager on Spieth.
What’s up with Rory?
McIlroy battled injuries throughout 2015, mainly an ankle injury that wiped away the second half of his season. He is back at full strength now, but he faded at Augusta under the pressure to win the career Grand Slam.
He’s already shown the game to win the U.S. Open, dominating Congressional in 2011 on his way to a record-setting tournament. The tournament was known for wet conditions, allowing McIlroy to hunt for pins throughout the tournament. While Oakmont might not be so friendly, McIlory has shown that when he is on there might not be anyone in the world that can beat him.
Waiting for Tiger
At this point, it is more news when Tiger Woods plays than when he misses a tournament. It has been more than eight years since his last major win and the former world’s top player drifts further from the player he used to be.
For all that Woods has been through, there is still part of the population that grew up rooting for him. While he will never be the player that he once was, there is always hope that he will somewhat regain his form and challenge for one last major. Who knows if he will even play, but anytime he is in the tournament there is the possibility of magic. This article says that Woods is registered for the U.S. Open but if he shows up and plays is another question.
Granted, a lot of people are sick of Tiger as well, but there will come a major weekend where he makes a move, shows up Sunday in his red shirt and gets people hoping again. Will he do it at the U.S. Open? Probably not, but it is worth watching to find out.