By Mark Hayes, Golf Australia, at Oakmont Country Club
A confident Adam Scott has vowed to challenge the famously tough Oakmont Country Club as he chases a second major championship.
While many are already cowering in fear at the par-70 layout with a 77.8 course rating and slope rating of 148, Scott said he would take it on wherever possible — even saying he’s rarely seen a course set-up that suits him better.
“You look at the field, you look at the quality of players and how well a lot of the top players are playing (and) it’s going to be a very, very difficult golf course to lay back and execute perfectly all week,” Scott said.
“The greens are just so severe that coming in with a longer club all the time is probably going to catch up with you. And I feel like if any of the top guys play well, you’re at a disadvantage if you’re plodding your way around.
“So I think you need to challenge this course. That doesn’t necessarily mean attack. You’ve got to be a little bit smart, of course, but I think my plan certainly is to challenge this golf course this week.”
With deadly rough across the sprawling masterpiece, driving the ball in the fairways will be a key factor and if Scott can maintain his customary sublime iron play, he holds a distinct statistical edge.
The 2013 Masters champion ranks first on the US PGA Tour for shots gained on approach — close to half a shot a round ahead of second-placed Henrik Stenson.
Unfortunately for Scott he then ranks poorly in putting, giving back some of his advantage but with the severely undulating Oakmont greens potentially nullifying the flat-club gurus, all players are bound to have their issues.
“I do feel it’s a bit of a leveller, these greens. They’re so difficult, the long range stuff and the speed that’s involved,” Scott said.
“Of course, someone’s going to make some long putts, but I think it’s going to be much tougher than usual.
“I certainly prefer putting on faster greens with my style of putting, so that doesn’t bother me at all.”
While most of the focus has been on the top three players in the world in countryman Jason Day, American Jordan Spieth and Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, Scott is primed.
“I really feel that if I can execute and play my style of golf this US Open, I haven’t seen a better set-up for me personally than this,” he said.
“If I can drive the ball how I usually do, I think I’m at a little bit of an advantage starting out playing from down the fairway here. So I’m excited.”
Adam Scott discusses strategy ahead of the 2016 US Open: Video