Golf

The famous church pews bunker at Oakmont Country Club.

US Open - who are the favourites?

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Oakmont Country Club is one of the toughest tests in golf. Brutally thick rough makes it a true examination of any golfer. To win this beast one must play out of the fairways and putt with immense skill.

The last time the US Open came to the Pittsburgh course the winning score was Angel Cabrera's +5, the highest in a major since Paul Lawrie shot +6 at Carnoustie in 1999 to win the British Open. 

Just this week, as quoted by Golf Digest, Phil Mickelson said:

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Tough test ahead

"I've played Oakmont the last two days, and I really think it is the hardest golf course we've ever played."

Pennsylvania native Jim Furyk added, as per Golf.com:"As far as looking forward to Oakmont, I don't know if anyone ever looks forward to Oakmont...The layout is as hard as I've ever seen. Add the Open conditions, you have to be on top of your game. You can play well there and shoot 76."

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The 2003 US Open champion continued: "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."

Brutal week

A simply brutal week awaits for the world's top golfers both physically and mentally, so which players are best placed to walk away with the title? 

Clearly a lot of the talk will surround 'the big three' of Jason Day, Jordan Spieth and Rory Mcilroy and all three have a chance this week, but Mcilroy might find it harder than his fellow members of the top three in rankings.

This is mainly due to his streaky putting, as both Day and Spieth are much better putters on a consistent basis. The way these greens test players, Mcilroy could find himself way down the leaderboard unless he is hot with the short stick all week. 

Day and Spieth are generally better around the greens and hole out a lot more often from intermediate distances. On a course where touch on the shorter surfaces is vital, that gives them both an excellent chance of victory.

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Jason Day is supremely confident and playing sublime golf at the moment, so providing he can keep the ball in the fairways, he will be very difficult to beat. Spieth will also fancy his chances, though, having proven at last year's championship at Chambers Bay that he is up to the challenges of a US Open course and also finding some recent form. 

Form will be key 

Dustin Johnson has also been in excellent form of recent but his lack of prowess in the short game might just leave him short yet again in the major arena. Despite driving the ball longer and straighter than most, his putting has consistently let him down and the speed and undulation of the greens at Oakmont could cause him problems.

Matt Kuchar might be the best placed outside of the top three to get the win this week as he has the ability to ride a hot putter and generally drives the ball extremely straight.

Also coming off four straight top ten finishes, the 37-year-old is in top form and is primed to win his first major championship with a good week in Pittsburgh. 

Grace a contender 

The course sets up well for a few others that have been on the brink of breaking into the major winning ranks of recent, including South African Branden Grace who could have won last year at Chambers Bay. 

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Grace has the short game as well as the length and direction off the tee to have another good week this year at Oakmont and the world number 12 would be a worthy addition to the major champion club. 

Oakmont really is unique and will definitely make for enticing viewing. 

The greens really are the fastest and toughest in golf and Jason Day's touch, along with his belief, could mean it's his week. 

Who will win the US Open? Have your say in the comments. 

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Topics:
US Open Golf
Phil Mickleson
Tiger Woods
Golf
Rory McIlroy

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