Since the United States Golf Association began its preparation for June’s U.S. Open at the Olympic Club, it has touted the first six holes of the Lake Course as the most difficult in Open history.
On Thursday, NBC golf analyst and winner of the 1973 U.S. Open Johnny Miller took it even a step further.
“With No. 1 being a par 4, it’s probably the hardest opening six holes maybe in the history of major-championship golf with no wind,” Miller said on a conference call. “It’s just that they are brutal holes, they are banked the wrong way.”
The opening hole has played as a par 5 in previous Opens at the Olympic Club, but will be a massive 520-yard, dogleg-right par 4 in this year’s version of the event. The second hole is a narrow, uphill par 4, with the third hole likely to play as the toughest par 3 on the course at 247 yards. Holes 4, 5 and 6 are all lengthy par 4s that will require precision off the tee and quality long-iron approach shots.
Miller, who was born and raised in San Francisco, predicts the tournament could be won or loss on that opening stretch.
“The big story is going to be really how well you do on the first six holes,” said Miller, who began playing the Olympic club when he was 12 years old. “I think the field is going to average 3-over-par through six, so they are going to have to somehow play great golf; not that the holes coming in after No. 6 are that easy, because they aren’t.”
112th U.S. Open
WHEN: June 14-17
WHERE: Olympic Club’s Lake Course
DEFENDING CHAMP: Rory McIlroy