OAKMONT, Pa. – A hole-by-hole look at Oakmont Country Club, site of the 116th U.S. Open to be played June 16-19:
No. 1, 482 yards, par 4: Nothing says, "Welcome to Oakmont" quite like the opening hole, one of the toughest starts in major championship golf. The narrow fairway is lined by bunkers on both sides. The downhill approach is to a green that is partially blind and slopes away from the fairway. The ideal shot is short the green to allow the slope to carry it onto the green.
Stroke average in 2007: 4.52.
No. 2, 340 yards, par 4: Short but difficult, accuracy is everything on a shot that has five bunkers on the right and a ditch to the left. The green has bunkers on both sides, and the putting surface slopes sharply from back to front, with several undulations. This yielded the most birdies of any par 4 on the front nine. The USGA could move the tee forward for one weekend round and tempt players to try to reach the green.
Stroke average in 2007: 4.16.
No. 3, 426 yards, par 4: The famous Church Pew bunkers are on the left side. The deep bunkers on the right are no picnic, either. The second shot with a short iron is uphill, making it a blind approach to a green that slopes gently away from the fairway. Anything short could roll back down the hill. Anything long will go through the green to a closely mown area.
Stroke average in 2007: 4.37.
No. 4, 609 yards, par 5: The Church Pews now are on the left side as this par 5 runs adjacent to the previous hole, with more deep bunkers on the right. A big drive in the fairway allows for players to go for the green in two. Otherwise, laying up requires a shot that must avoid bunkers on the right, though that's the best angle to approach the green. Oakmont has 210 bunkers, and 17 are found on this hole.
Stroke average in 2007: 5.06.
No. 5, 382 yards, par 4: Another short par 4 that plays tough. The fairway narrows about 160 yards from the green, and the approach shot is to a green that is well below the fairway. Accuracy is key on the approach, for there are substantial contours and ridges that will funnel misplaced shots away from the hole.
Stroke average in 2007: 4.24.
No. 6, 194 yards, par 3: The first par 3 is slightly downhill to a narrow green that slopes toward the tee. A recent restoration expanded the putting surface in the back right. The worst place to miss is the bunker to the right.
Stroke average in 2007: 3.31.
No. 7, 479 yards, par 4: This starts a four-hole stretch that was the toughest in 2007. The fairway is parallel to the Pennsylvania Turnpike and is pinched by deep bunkers. The approach is to a green that slopes from back to front, and staying below the hole is important. Missing to the left is the toughest spot from which to save par.
Stroke average in 2007: 4.43.
No. 8, 288 yards, par 3: This par 3 is so long that a good short game is required. At full length, it is the longest in U.S. Open history. While the green is open, a bunker juts out some 80 yards before the green. Carry that, and the ball is likely to run all the way onto a green. The putting surface is not as heavily contoured as others at Oakmont. As for the short game? The last time the U.S. Open was here, only 27 percent of the field hit the green.
Stroke average in 2007: 3.45.
No. 9, 477 yards, par 4: This hole runs the other direction next to No. 1, with a narrow landing area that can't be seen from the green. There is a ditch left and bunkers to the right, and the fairway slopes to the right. The green is large and unlike any other — the back portion, which is in play, is the practice green.
Stroke average in 2007: 4.50.
No. 10, 462 yards, par 4: The tee shot is downhill to a narrow landing area, and the fairway slopes from right to left. There are deep bunkers on the left side of the fairway. The green slopes from front right to back left, and it is among the hardest at Oakmont. Much like the first hole, the idea is to land it short and let the slope carry the ball onto the green.
Stroke average in 2007: 4.53.
No. 11, 379 yards, par 4: The tee shot is uphill toward the clubhouse, so the landing area can't be seen from the tee. The green is slightly diagonal and guarded by deep bunkers. This should yield more birdies than usual for Oakmont. After the previous four holes, it might feel like a breather.
Stroke average in 2007: 4.21.
No. 12, 667 yards, par 5: The longest hole on the course, the power hitters might have a chance to reach in two, but keeping it in the fairway is difficult because the ball rolls out. Second shots are played to a narrow landing area. The green slopes from front to back. Only 44 percent of the field hit this green in regulation in 2007, a surprisingly how percentage for a par 5.
Stroke average in 2007: 5.41.
No. 13, 183 yards, par 3: The shortest of the par 3s typically plays the easiest. The green is surrounded by bunkers, some that appear to be as large as the green. The putting surface slopes from back to front, and it is critical to be below the hole for a good chance at birdie.
Stroke average in 2007: 3.11
No. 14, 358 yards, par 4: The fairway slopes from right to left and narrows about 270 yards from the tee, just as a group of bunkers ends. The green is long and divided into sections by ridges. Because players will have a wedge, this should be a shot easily controlled. That explains why nearly four in five players hit the green in regulation, and why it played the easiest hole in 2007.
Stroke average in 2007: 4.05.
No. 15, 500 yards, par 4: The longest par 4 on the course, this has a blind tee shot to the landing area, and the fairway slopes to the right. The approach is to a green that is deepest on the course and framed by one of the longest bunkers at Oakmont. This gave up only 26 birdies on the back nine in 2007. One of them belonged to Angel Cabrera, his final birdie of the last round.
Stroke average in 2007: 4.39.
No. 16, 231 yards, par 3: The large green has a deep bunker on the right. But anything to the left makes for a tough par save because the green slopes to the right. Anyone choosing to play short of the green has a straightforward shot at saving par. Larry Nelson holed a 60-foot birdie putt here on his way to victory in 1983.
Stroke average in 2007: 3.32.
No. 17, 313 yards, par 4: This is a reachable par 4, and it can be a problem for anyone who misses. Players can lay up with a mid-iron and take on a precise approach with a wedge. Missing the green presents trouble because of the slopes around the putting surface, five bunkers and deep rough. The most troublesome bunker is short and right of the green, and it's called, "Big Mouth."
Stroke average in 2007: 4.07.
No. 18, 484 yards, par 4: The closing hole ranked as the hardest in 2007. The tee shot must be long and straight, and it narrows about 260 yards off the tee. The second shot is uphill to a large green that only one-third of the field hit in regulation at the last U.S. Open. The green is so undulated that playing it safe could also mean the player faces a difficult two-putt. Cabrera hit a 346-yard drive down the middle, which he called his most important shot of the week.
Stroke average in 2007: 4.60.