Famous for playing 300 yards during the 2007 U.S. Open, the 8th hole at Oakmont Country Club could match that distance again in 2016. USGA Executive Director Mike Davis said as much Monday from U.S. Open Media Day at the course.
“As we said in 2007, before everybody thinks we have lost our marbles making a par-3 300 yards, when you go back and you read historically about what HC and WC Fownes wanted, they designed that hole to be a driver, 3-wood hole,” Davis said. “The only way to get it to that way now days is to get something back there.
“And what’s so neat about that design is, the 8th is one of the largest greens at Oakmont and candidly it’s one of the flatter greens there. And you can land, I think there’s a cross bunker there the Sahara bunker that if you fly, you got about 43 yards to bounce your [shot], before you even get to the green, where it’s nice and firm, slight downhill slope. So, you could play even if you were playing it 300 yards, you might be able to hit it 250, 260 in the air and have it bounce up there. So it’s great strategy, but it’s nonetheless a tough hole.”
A tough hole, indeed. The 8th played .452 strokes above par on average in 2007, making it the 5th-toughest hole during that week. It was only reached in regulation on 26.7% of attempts that year.