Two things to know about Southern Hills: (1) Contrary to its name, it's not all that hilly, and (2) Come summer, it can be hotter than a habanero in a deep fryer.
When Tommy Bolt went wire-to-wire to win the 1958 U.S. Open in temps that exceeded 100 degrees each day, writers dubbed the championship the "Blast Furnace Open." It was hotter still for Dave Stockton's PGA win in 1970.
No matter what the thermometer reads at this year's championship, however, nothing will put more heat on the field than Southern Hills' ruthless par 4s.
The starting trio, especially the newly lengthened 486-yard second, is one of the nastiest how-do-you-dos in golf. Then there's the back nine, anchored by three of the most demanding par 4s in America: the 12th, 16th and 18th. Here's a look at each.
Par 4: 458 yards
How it played at the 2001 U.S. Open
Stroke average: 4.29 Rank: 5th hardest hole
Birdies: 46 Bogeys or worse: 151
The Deal: Ben Hogan called the 12th "the greatest par 4 in the United States." Most players will hit 3-wood off the tee on this dogleg-left because "it's hard to fit a driver into the small and blind landing area," says Dave Bryan, Southern Hills' head pro.
Long hitters might cut the corner, but it'll take a 265-yard carry into a left-to-right wind to fly the single perfectly placed bunker. Watch for some fun off the right side of the green this year they've shaved the bank, which will bring a creek into play.
Memory Lane: Trying to win the only major that eluded him, Arnold Palmer took a two-shot lead after the 11th hole of the 1970 PGA's second round, only to give it back on 12. After his approach from the rough landed on a clump of weeds in a creek bed, Arnie refused a penalty drop and instead took a violent lash at the ball. He ended up with a double bogey.
Pro-spective: "I hit a driver fade off the left side in 2001 because the wind was down off the left, and between a 5- and 9-iron for the second shot. It's a tight drive and the fairway is at an angle. Guys missed it left, if anything. The last round I hit a perfect drive and a 9- iron. There's a fairway bunker on the left that I try to aim at and just slide it off that. It's a fairly flat green. The tee shot is the hardest thing about the hole." Retief Goosen, 2001 U.S. Open champion at Southern Hills