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Jun 17, 2016 | 06:10 am

Oakmont Comes To Your iPhone

Even if you’re not at Oakmont this weekend watching the U.S. Open in person—and our sympathies if you’re not (we’re not, either)—you can still enhance the spectating experience with the updated mobile app created by the USGA and IBM, and available for iPhone and iPad from the iTunes store; for Android from Google; and from the USGA’s website. The app features an interactive map that allows fans to find specific players on the course as well as points of interest and amenities such as concession stands, restrooms, and WiFi zones. There’s also a new “PlayCaster,” which uses scoring data and pace-of-play information to estimate where a player will be on the course at any moment during the round. Fans not lucky enough to be at Oakmont will find the app best for detailed scoring as well as watching live action from inside the ropes. And if you think you could do better than Rory, Jordan, Jason, and the like, the USGA has partnered again with World Golf Tour to create a “Virtual” U.S. Open, allowing users to “play” Oakmont’s toughest holes. If you do, we suggest you bring along a digital flask, as well.

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Jun 16, 2016 | 09:28 am

The Damage Has Already Begun

After only a few holes on the front nine, the featured group Thursday morning at the US Open is already feeling Oakmont’s bite. Rory McIlroy took two irons off the tee on the first three holes and stands at +2 as a result. Danny Willet and Rickie Fowler are the other two members of that group, and they stand at even and +1 respectively.

The course is firm and fast as expected, but rain last night and in the forecast today means that conditions could change over the early days of the tournament. The greens may be softer as a result of the rain, but the rough will continue to grow and if wet, can be more like wet cement than green grass.

To watch the live coverage online, go to USOpen.com.   

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Jun 15, 2016 | 08:21 am

Breakfast Ball

Every golfer loves a mulligan and Fox Sports is getting its chance to re-tee it at Oakmont. The addition of Paul Azinger—the best analyst in the business (sorry, Johnny)—is a big plus, and so are some of the technical innovations the network is trotting out during its more than 181 hours on the air. Perhaps the most intriguing will be the 360-degree views of the tees and greens on holes 9, 10, 12, 17, and 18. The drone aresnal will be back, but new this year is the capability to overlay on-screen graphics. Speaking of graphics, Fox's patented green-shading overlay that shows the slope of the greens with both a dot and grid system should bring a lot to the telecast given Oakmont's notoriously undulating greens. Fan of Protracer (who isn't)? Then you'll love the fact that 13 tees will feature the the ball-tracing technology, while three holes (2, 9, and 17) will feature "Virtual Eye" tracers showing the aerial flight of the ball in relation to the hole's geography. All we need now are the Big Three in contention down the stretch for an epic Open.

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Jun 14, 2016 | 08:42 am

Who's On Deck

The USGA has its sites set for the next eight U.S. Opens—six tried-and-true venues and two newbies. After this year at venerable Oakmont, the contrast couldn’t be more stark as the big show moves to Erin Hills in Wisconsin, barely 10 years old and untested in a professional event. Then it’s back to the likely suspects—Shinnecock (2018), Pebble Beach (2019), and Winged Foot (2020). In 2021 the championship returns for a second time to Torrey Pines, site of Tiger’s dramatic playoff win over Rocco Mediate in 2008, followed by The Country Club (2022) and then a first visit to the course the USGA has courted for decades, Los Angeles CC (North). The 2024 site will be Pinehurst—but this time the women won’t be coming to town the following week. Beyond that it’s anyone’s guess, but given the USGA's propensity for East-West alternation, a good bet for 2025 might be Merion or Congressional. As for ’26, the USGA likes anniversaries, and while a 100th at Scioto (1926) is probably not in the cards, don’t rule out a 75th at Oakland Hills (1951), a 50th at Atlanta AC (1976), or a 25th at Southern Hills (2001). And 2027? Maybe they’ll come full circle to Oakmont, for the centennial of Tommy Armour’s victory on a score of 301, 13 over par.

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