Tuesday, June 14

Oakmont Is Alien, The Terminator and Predator

(Plucked from the archives, and updated.)

THE USGA'S COURSE SETUP MAN Mike Davis was "giddy" about course conditions at Oakmont Country Club heading into the 2010 U.S. Women's Open near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

"I am truly giddy the whole week that I'm here. It's just so good," Davis said. "In fact, it's perfect [and] it's been that way the last five days we've been here."

And it's fair to say that Davis is also very pleased heading into the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont.

Johnny Miller teeing off on Oakmont's 18th hole
in the final round of the 1973 U.S. Open.
This is not necessarily good news for the men who must actually play Oakmont for 72 holes over four days. When the USGA man declares his love for Oakmont, that it's a firm and fast test for the world's best golfers, you just know there's going to be trouble—and lots of it.

Here's what I know about Oakmont after watching the boys play it since the late 20th century: It will seriously mess you up. It will blacken your eye and bloody your nose. It will spit in your face and kick you in the groin. It will beat you up, take your lunch money and steal your identity. Oakmont is cage fighting in fashionable clothing.

If you have a bag and 14 sticks, Oakmont doesn't like you. If you come near it, it will try to destroy you. Oakmont is Lee Van Cleef in "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" and Clint Eastwood in "The Outlaw Josey Wales." Oakmont is Alien, The Terminator and Predator.

Oakmont does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, gender, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, or political beliefs. Man, woman, child—Oakmont doesn't care. It whips all comers.

If you complain, whine, or cry about it, Oakmont gets stronger. If you talk to yourself, toss your club in disgust, or berate your caddie, Oakmont gets stronger. When—not if—when you make bogeys, double bogeys and "others," Oakmont gets stronger.

Oakmont is permanently in a surly mood, and has been dating back to 1973 (if not longer). That's when golden boy Johnny Miller slipped by Oakmont without so much as a tear in his patterned slacks or a scuff on his red, white and blue patent leather golf shoes. Johnny walked away with a 63 and the U.S. Open trophy, and he's been reminding people about it for the last 43 years.

Oakmont has been taking it out on golfers just as long.

Godspeed, men.

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