Date: June 15, 2016
Author: Robert Grant

US OPEN: Putting vital says Day

Managing the greens will be the key to success in this week's US Open at the notoriously exacting Oakmont course in Pennsylvania, according to world No.1 Jason Day.

Describing the layout as “the most iconic US Open venue”, Day says weather conditions will also be vital as he heads into the week challenging for his second major crown following last year's US PGA Championship.

“It’s one of the toughest venues we have to play at,” Day said.

“You think about Merion and Winged Foot, but this is it.

“If I had to choose, I’d choose courses like this. Even though this has some length to it, it’s still got that old-school flavor. The greens are the biggest thing for them. If you get it dry, the greens and greens speed are the defense for this course.”

Day said course management will be crucial – keeping the ball out of the rough and away from the deep fairway bunkers – but he has not ruled out a surprise runaway winner.

“If they have it set up like in the past with good weather conditions, it will be pretty tough,” Day said.

“But you never know. This is the kind of course, there may be a chance where one person can run away with it.

"You get a guy hot with their longer stuff and hitting a lot of fairways and hitting the right spots on the greens and you give yourself an opportunity and got everything firing, they can kind of run away with it. I’m not saying that’s me but there could be an opportunity for someone to do that.”

Day is trying to ignore the pressure on him as the world's top golfer and instead focus on correct procedure throughout the week.

“Everyone is expecting you each week to compete and play well and win and sometimes that can be stressful," he said.

“I’ve just got to focus on getting the process right, and if I can do that then hopefully the US Open will time perfectly and I can peak there and play well there."

The reigning US Open champion Jordan Spieth agrees and says the winner will need perfect ball-striking, which he said Argentinian Angel Cabrera demonstrated en route to the title in 2007 – the last time Oakmont hosted the championship.

“You will have no crazy circumstances or bounces or this or that," Spieth said.

“The person who is in full control of their entire game will win this US Open."

Spieth, who shot to No.1 in the world on the back of Masters and US Open triumphs last year, has struggled at times in 2016, most notably with a final-round meltdown at Augusta National.

But the 22-year-old American kept the pressure on Day with a PGA Tour title at Colonial in May as the third member of the "Big Three", Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy ended a six-month victory drought with a triumph in the Irish Open.

McIlroy also looked sharp at the Memorial Tournament, the last US Open tune-up featuring golf’s current top triumvirate.

“Off the tee I was really good, and I feel like my putting improved a lot," McIlroy said.

“Time to get ready for Oakmont."