Oakmont Country Club is often viewed as the most difficult course in the U.S. Open rotation. After seeing the course for the first time, it's a notion that Jordan Spieth seems ready to support.
Spieth made the trek this week to Pittsburgh for a preview of the course that next month will host the U.S. Open for the ninth time. After a quick trip around the back nine late Tuesday night, Spieth played a full practice round Wednesday before offering his view of what a winning score might be.
"There's just so many other tough holes that par is going to be a fantastic score," Spieth told reporters. "I'd sign for even par right now for 72 holes in June. Obviously given the history, but also having played it."
That history includes the most recent Oakmont Open, when Angel Cabrera won in 2007 with a winning score of 5-over 285. Prior to that, though, 5 under was the winning total for three of the previous four Opens at Oakmont, including Ernie Els' playoff win in 1994 (albeit on a par-71 layout).
Five under was good enough for Spieth to capture the hardware last summer at Chambers Bay, but after 27 holes of practice he sees plenty of contrast between Oakmont and last year's venue.
"Chambers Bay was a bit different because it's a lot of drivers, and it's wider fairways," Spieth said. "And sure, you can get into a lot of toruble there, but out here, you're going to have to curve the ball into these fairways to hold it in the right places, and you've got to take your medicine a lot more."
Spieth used a local caddie for his practice round instead of his typical looper, Michael Greller, in an effort to learn some of Oakmont's nuances. While he plans a return trip in early June, Spieth has already picked up on one of the keys to the course: avoid the sand, as best you can.
"These bunkers here may as well be bunkers in the U.K. They may as well be pot bunkers," he said. "You just kind of have to hit sideways out of them for the most part. So, they are very much hazards and you really don't need a lot of drivers. I don't think either of those points were of importance until playing it."