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2016 US Open: Showers to dampen opening round play at Oakmont

The golf world will turn its focus to western Pennsylvania this week as the 116th U.S. Open returns to Oakmont Country Club from Thursday, June 16 to Sunday, June 19.

Oakmont, located about 14 miles to the northeast of Pittsburgh, is considered one of the toughest courses in the country and will host the U.S. Open for a record ninth time.

"The USGA wants the U.S. Open to be a tough, rigorous test. We want it to be the ultimate test in golf," Mike Davis, the executive director of the United States Golf Association, said at the event's media day in April.

Davis said that the signature feature of Oakmont might be the course's lightning-fast greens, and golfers have complained about them as far back as the 1935 U.S. Open.

Golfer Rickie Fowler posted a video of a practice putt which showed just how quick the greens can play.

Any precipitation during play could reduce the firmness of the greens and the course overall, which would be a welcome benefit to the players as the ball will not roll as much after it rains.

"I'm not sure I can think of a course that plays more different than Oakmont in terms of a soft Oakmont and a dry Oakmont," Davis said.

AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Dombek said the worst weather conditions during the tournament will likely unfold on Thursday, as there will be heavy rain at times during the day along with the chance for a thunderstorm.

"Potentially, the most active period will be during the afternoon and evening," Dombek said.

The first group of golfers will tee off at 6:45 a.m. EDT on Thursday.

The USGA will monitor the weather very closely so it can make proper adjustments to the course, according to Davis.

"Sometimes with a soft Oakmont versus a firm Oakmont, you really do want to set it up slightly different, because there's certain things you just can't do with a firm Oakmont, you need to be very conservative," he said, adding that players could take more aggressive shots if the course is soft.

For second round play on Friday, damp conditions will linger during the morning hours and there could be a chance for a shower, but drier weather is expected later in the day, according to Dombek.

Over the weekend, the weather is looking "pretty good" with plenty of sunshine and temperatures trending upward, Dombek said.

Following highs in the upper 70s F on Friday, temperatures will settle in the low 80s on Saturday and the upper 80s on Sunday. A normal high for this time of year is around 80 F.

At the Masters in early April, golfers had to combat gusty winds throughout much of the tournament. While wind is always a factor in golf, oftentimes the x-factor, winds will be lighter this week at Oakmont.

The windiest day could be Friday, Dombek said, adding much lighter winds are forecast for Saturday as high pressure builds in.

They USGA will have a meteorology staff on site monitoring the possibility of dangerous weather. At the first sign of thunder or lightning, spectators should clear the grounds and seek shelter, even if play has not been suspended.

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