Stepping out on a limb to call the U.S. Open winner now: The Olympic Club will emerge as the victor on Sunday. You can go ahead and book it now, it will be the course, not the players, that wins by the time all is said and done. It's just too good not to take home the title.
The U.S. Open is living up to its "Toughest Test In Golf" billing this year after falling well short in 2011. The Olympic Club is beating up players through two rounds, and is showing no sign of letting up. With only three players at even-par or better, all of whom are 1-under for the tournament, the course is throwing the punches instead of the competitors.
Take a look at the stats. Notice that only two holes are averaging a score under par. The first is the driveable par-4 seventh and the other is the short par-5 17th, which has employed relatively easy pin locations thus far. The monster par-5 16th, which plays at just over 600 yards from the up tees and 670 from the back, is playing almost a half stroke over par.
And how about that front-nine? The first six holes have absolutely lived up to the hype. They were supposed to be the toughest holes on the course. And 36 holes into the tournament, they're that and more.
There have been more double-bogeys than birdies on the first, second, fifth and sixth holes. Only nine birdies have been carded on the sixth hole, and the same hole has just eight fewer bogeys than pars.
It's an absolutely brutal test, just as one would expect a U.S. Open to be. The fairways and greens feel like concrete, making distance control, trajectory and shot selection key. To succeed, players have to be perfect, using every shot they have in the bag. And few are succeeding.
By the time the 2012 U.S. Open is over, The Olympic Club will stand triumphantly, metaphorical arms raised in victory. Once again, it's just too tough to tame.
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