Greg Robertson is the associate head coach at Purdue and is caddying for Maria Hernandez at the U.S. Women’s Open. He played college golf at Oklahoma State.
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OAKMONT, Pa. – It’s the day before the tournament, so Maria’s practice session was more about fine-tuning than anything else. It’s similar to a football team’s walk-through the day before the game. Typically she likes to play 18 holes for each practice round, but today she decided to only play nine. Part of the reason was to keep from getting exhausted due to the extreme heat throughout the week. But the main reason was so she could watch Spain in the World Cup game at 2:30 p.m.!
This week is the first time either of us had ever been to Oakmont. We heard quite a bit about the golf course leading up the event, and it’s lived up to the hype.
One thing that surprised me, that you don’t really see on TV, are number of elevation changes throughout the course. Obviously the greens are the talk of the tournament and putting will definitely play a role in the outcome. But even before that, the key will be the approach shots to put the ball in the right spots. With the greens being as fast and firm as they are, the players that can work the ball back into the slopes will have an advantage. There will be plenty of hole locations that players will have to concede to the fact that they won’t get any closer than 30-40 feet, especailly on the greens that slope from front to back.
I’m not one to try to predict scores. I don’t do that with our team, because I believe you just need to play golf without trying to shoot a number that gets stuck in your head. However, I’ve heard a lot of people speculating on the cut and the winning score. To be honest, I’m not sure anyone really knows what to expect this week, including the USGA. But the consensus is that we’ll probably see some of the highest scores in recent memory.
Everyone knows how tough it is to navigate around this golf course, but one of the toughest things about Oakmont is navigating to the golf course. I’ve never seen so many hills, bends and turns for a 10-mile trip. Today is the first time we actually didn’t get lost. I’d tell you who’s been driving this whole time, but Maria might get mad at me. Hopefully, we’ll find our way OK Thursday to make that 8:50 a.m. starting time!