This week has been one that many in the Pittsburgh area have been looking forward to the U.S. Open returning to Oakmont Country Club for years, but Angel Cabrera may be more excited about it than anyone.
After all, it was nine years ago when the U.S. Open came there and he came away with his first career major tournament win shooting 5-over par for the week and beating both Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk by one stroke.
“It’s been very emotional this week with all the memories from back in ’07,” Cabrera said. “So I’ve been waiting several years to actually be back here at this moment, to be back and play Oakmont again. It certainly makes me really proud to be part of that very exclusive group of players that have won here, but let’s not forget that this is the U.S. Open and the U.S. Open is bigger than any other thing, whether it’s played here or there. So just the fact that I have won the U.S. Open gives me a lot of pride.”
Cabrera was able to follow up on his success besting Chad Campbell and Kenny Perry in a playoff at the 2009 Masters.
His other PGA TOUR win came at the Greenbrier Classic an event played in White Sulphur Springs, WV.
The fact that Cabrera has won two majors he feels speaks to his reputation as a big tournament golfer.
“It’s already been proved that for some reason I just play better at Majors than regular tournaments,” said Cabrera. “There’s something about the Majors that gets a lot of focus from me, a lot of the best of me, and that’s been basically the case for all of my golfing career.”
Scott looks to reverse Oakmont misfortune
Not much has changed about Oakmont Country Club since 2007 in terms of on course changes. Adam Scott remembers that U.S. Open very well.
“I don’t have a lot of great memories,” he said. “I only played two rounds here, unfortunately, that year, and I played poorly. So I definitely would like to turn that around this week and have a much more memorable experience at Oakmont. I’ve enjoyed my practice rounds and my early scouting trip up here.”
Scott is now the eighth ranked golfer in the world and has to come up with a game-plan to avoid achieving that same fate.
Much has been made about Oakmont’s greens and Scott has ditched the broomstick putting grip for a while since it is no longer aloud.
Scott has found success with the new grip though he does not believe anyone can have their way with these particular greens.
“I think it’s going to be tough for everybody that’s so severe, probably the most severe greens we’re going to putt on this year,” said Scott. “I think it’s probably going to challenge everybody this week. I certainly prefer putting on faster greens with my style of putting, so that doesn’t bother me at all. It’s going to be difficult because we’re not always used to seeing so much slope on the greens.”
Even if the course gives with the rain in Wednesday night and Thursday’s forecast and under par rounds are in play, the course will still play challenging leading to several tee shot decisions.
Several golfers have admitted that only a few holes are able to use a driver but Scott gave a more aggressive answer than others when it came time to analyzing a plan of attack.
“I think you’ve got to challenge this golf course,” said Scott. “You look at the field, you look at the quality of players and how well a lot of the top players are playing, it’s going to be a very, very difficult golf course to lay back and execute perfectly all week. I feel like if any of the top guys play well, you’re at a disadvantage if you’re plodding your way around. You need to challenge this course. That doesn’t necessarily mean attack. You’ve got to be a little bit smart, of course, but I think my plan certainly is to challenge this golf course this week.”
All in all, Scott expressed a certain level of confidence in his game which he hopes will translate into a U.S. Open trophy.
“I haven’t seen a better setup for me personally than this,” he said. “I feel like I can get myself somewhat in the hunt at the U.S. Open after the last couple performances.”