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George Pazin

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Week 9: The 9th at Oakmont
« on: January 29, 2007, 05:44:51 PM »
Another hole I didn't study as much.

Here's the relevant info:

Green   477
Blue   462
White   459
Red   431



This very difficult, blind, uphill driving hole has a severe ditch left and severe pot bunkers right.  This pivotal hole, which plays as a par 5 for the members, will play as a long par 4 for the U.S. Open.  The huge severely undulating green also serves as the practice putting green.

I'll try to add more later.

Making the turn fact of the week:

Here's the list of men's Open winners at Oakmont:

1927
Tommy Armour

1935
Sam Parks

1953
Ben Hogan

1962
Jack Nicklaus

1973
Johnny Miller

1983
Larry Nelson

1994
Ernie Els

Pretty damn impressive list.

Week 8: The 8th at Oakmont
« Last Edit: January 29, 2007, 05:47:20 PM by George Pazin »
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

Bill_McBride

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Re:Week 9: The 9th at Oakmont
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2007, 05:51:52 PM »
It was a bit unnerving practicing putts on that back of #9 green area.  First, because you are about to hit the tee shot on #1 which is daunting.  

Second because some character out in the fairway either KILLED a second shot or skulled a third, as a Titleist came out of nowhere and ran between my legs while I was putting!   I couldn't stick around to see who came to claim it as we were off to the tee.

That is also probably the fastest putting green I've ever seen, good practice for the experience to come.  :o

Michael Ryan

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Re:Week 9: The 9th at Oakmont
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2007, 08:07:44 PM »
Was this hole played as a par 4 or par 5 in previous Open's?  I seem to remember this one from TV coverage in '94 and thought that guys were occasionally hitting woods into #9 and making birdies, but 477 from the tips sounds like a possible US Open par 4 even in '94 before the technology changes.  477 in 2007 is bordering on driver/wedge the way some of these guys hit it.

I have never been there, so don't mean to bog down the thread with an obvious question to Oakmont experts.  I just have this memory of Tom Watson hitting a 3 wood close on #9 one of the days and almost making eagle.  

Thanks...

Chris Cupit

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Re:Week 9: The 9th at Oakmont
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2007, 08:24:32 PM »
I am pretty sure this will be the first time the 9th plays as a par four for a US Open.  I understand why but thinks it's a shame.  I think a "gimmie" birdie hole (as if there were gimmies in a US Open :)) can put MORE pressure on a pro who can press since he feels he MUST birdie a particular hole or lose ground.

The same hole as a par four and the pro shrugs of the bogey since the hole is so hard--same hole, same score but the five on the par five may get under the player's skin more!

Oh well, they forgot to ask my opinion AGAIN!! :) :D ;D

Ryan Farrow

Re:Week 9: The 9th at Oakmont
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2007, 10:18:14 PM »

















.....and just for fun



« Last Edit: January 29, 2007, 10:22:42 PM by Ryan Farrow »

JNC Lyon

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Re:Week 9: The 9th at Oakmont
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2007, 10:54:30 PM »
I have to say I love these threads.  For someone who has never played Oakmont but is very interested in the course after the extensive tree removal, it's awesome.  Keep 'em coming! :)
"That's why Oscar can't see that!" - Philip E. "Timmy" Thomas

Tommy Williamsen

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Re:Week 9: The 9th at Oakmont
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2007, 11:01:41 PM »
I like the hole as a par five.  If the drive finds fairway, this is one hole you feel that birdie is possible.  Just aim at the flagpole and let 'er rip.
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

"Deep within your soul-space is a magnificent cathedral where you are sweet beyond telling." Rumi

Phil McDade

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Re:Week 9: The 9th at Oakmont
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2007, 11:10:44 PM »
Ryan:

Your photos, as usual, are just terrific. Thanks for posting them. This hole looks like just a beast to play -- a very tough choice on the tee for a 477 yard par 4 and what I've heard is a very challenging green. For you and George and others, I'm curious about:

-- yardage to the ditch on the left, and how that dictates strategy off the tee.
-- green topography, and whether playing short off the tee and just whaling one long into a very deep green is smart or dumb or something in between.
-- perhaps not known, but how wide the fairway will play (with F/F conditions, hopefully) to bring the ditch and pot bunkers into play for a slightly off-center tee shot that runs out into those hazards.

Bill_Yates

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Re:Week 9: The 9th at Oakmont
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2007, 11:45:43 PM »
In 1994, the ninth hole was played as a par 5 at 474 yards.  Players were going for the green with fairway woods/metals.  However this very large green is divided by ridges, valleys and tilting surfaces which allows for many hole locations, however each has a vey small effective area from which to one-putt.  What happened in '94 was that while reaching the green in two was not unusual, one-putting for eagle was.  Getting close to the hole by playing a lower trajectory shot with a longer club to an uphill green was not that easy.  That was 13 years ago.  With today's clubs, balls and players, I think making it a par 4 will make for a whole bunch of exciting par putts.

The huge green is quite unique.  The entire back half of the ninth green is the putting green which is still in play.  And the general slope of the green is from back to front.  however, starting about 5 paces from the right front of the green is a raised section called the "piano top" that tilts severely from left to right and slightly front to back.  Holes cut on the "piano top" are the most difficult to access and the putting is very dicey.  Keep in mind the greens at Oakmont are always rolling at 10 to 12 feet.

Because of the three basic plateaus that make up the front half of the green (each of a different width and slope but all tilting from left to right)  a ball played to the left side of the green would have a path to a hole cut on the "piano top" that goes downhill, uphill, downhill, uphill then downhill to the hole.  And yes, as it climbs over the ridges that transition to the next plateau, left and right breaks will need to be considered, then as the putt begins to lose speed on its last downhill run, it will break considerably.

To see some great golf action at this year's Open, I'm going to plant myself on the veranda just behind the green and take bets on two-putts.

Bill Yates
www.pacemanager.com 
"When you manage the pace of play, you manage the quality of golf."

Bill_Ryzewski

Re:Week 9: The 9th at Oakmont
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2007, 12:15:13 AM »
Where will the grandstand be on that hole? Could you make some suggestions on viewing during the day?

regards,
Bill

Mark Chaplin

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Re:Week 9: The 9th at Oakmont
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2007, 07:28:38 AM »
Severe ditch, severe pot bunkers, severely undulating green maybe the club's website author needs a severe word on his/her limited lexicon.
Cave Nil Vino

Scott Witter

Re:Week 9: The 9th at Oakmont
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2007, 08:12:03 AM »
Curious...I didn't pay as much attention to this in the previous Oakmont holes, but I am surprised to see the  w  i  d  e collars at the putting surfaces.  I would have expected to see single width collars maximizing the putting surfaces and not something a triplex mower would produce :P

Forrest Richardson

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Re:Week 9: The 9th at Oakmont
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2007, 10:10:25 AM »
Thankfully, "Ol' Man Yates" did not write about his days there in the 1910s. My two cents: No. 9 is good either way (4 or 5). I do think that a short five in the mind of a golfer causes more decisions. With a short five there is very good opportunity for EAGLE...and EAGLE is much more to brag about than BIRDIE. This is psychology. While the scores are the same, the journey and result is somehow different.
Forrest Richardson, Golf Course Architect/ASGCA
    www.golfgroupltd.com
    www.golframes.com

George Pazin

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Re:Week 9: The 9th at Oakmont
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2007, 11:20:25 AM »
Thanks, everyone (especially Ryan for the pics).

Here's the yardage guide stats (it's a long one this time, two pages from The Book):



And here's the overhead, which I forgot to post yesterday:

Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

George Pazin

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Re:Week 9: The 9th at Oakmont
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2007, 11:23:54 AM »
Some things to note:

It is a par 5 for members and the like due to the very uphill nature of the hole, especially on the tee shot.

Check out the "whoopsee doo" part of the green - very cool, and interesting that it's on what is the open entry side of the green.

I noted guys hitting 5 irons into the green during the practice round for the Am.
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

peter_mcknight

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Re:Week 9: The 9th at Oakmont
« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2007, 11:32:25 AM »
At the 2003 US Amateur, the ninth played as the par 4 for the first time in its championship history.  It is my understanding that it was under consideration for the par 4 for the 1994 US Open, but, at the last minute, was allowed to remain as the par 5.

However, for the Amateur, which was held after the deforestation and added length to the 1st, 4th, 7th, 12th, 15th and 18th, the ninth became the par 4.

Now, there is virtually no break between holes 7-12.

Lastly, Okamont played a little more than a stroke harder than Winged Foot during stroke play for the Amateur, so, if that is any sort of indicator, perhaps someone taking 284 and staying in the clubhouse might not be such a bad deal.

Bill_Yates

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Re:Week 9: The 9th at Oakmont
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2007, 01:26:08 PM »
"...and EAGLE is much more to brag about than BIRDIE. This is psychology. While the scores are the same, the journey and result is somehow different." - "Woody" Richardson

Woody, those playing in this year's Open can find plenty to brag about by making scads of EAGLES on the countless Par 5 holes - that should be played as Par 4's - on every tour stop before and after the Open.  Since today's technology apparently allows for a drive and a 5-iron on #9, why then shouldn't holes playing with a drive and 7-iron be considered a Par 5?  They could really brag then.

Back in 1910 when I played regularly, Hole #1 was a Par 5, it is now a Par 4.  If you look at the course map and scorecard you'll see that holes #1 and #9 are almost equal in distance.

I say let the pros play this fantastic hole as a Par 4 and brag when they make birdie.
Bill Yates
www.pacemanager.com 
"When you manage the pace of play, you manage the quality of golf."

Mike_Cirba

Re:Week 9: The 9th at Oakmont
« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2007, 01:42:15 PM »
Ok...what's a "Whoopsie do area"?  ;)

I love the 9th at Oakmont and wish it were still a par five in the US Open.   Not every hole should be a ball-buster.

Matt_Cohn

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Re:Week 9: The 9th at Oakmont
« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2007, 02:07:25 PM »
A "whoopsie-do area", also known as a JIC, JICYFU, or JICYRFU (figure it out!), is an area of yardages that probably shouldn't be necessary but they include it anyway - for example, 75 yards to the green on a 460 yard par-4.

Mike_Cirba

Re:Week 9: The 9th at Oakmont
« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2007, 02:14:37 PM »
A "whoopsie-do area", also known as a JIC, JICYFU, or JICYRFU (figure it out!), is an area of yardages that probably shouldn't be necessary but they include it anyway - for example, 75 yards to the green on a 460 yard par-4.

Matt,

But this "whoopsie-do area" is on the GREEN in the drawing George posted!   :o

mike_malone

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Re:Week 9: The 9th at Oakmont
« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2007, 02:25:33 PM »
 "whoopsie-do" is associated with quickly changing slopes that bounce one around.  Matt might be speaking of "whoop-de-do" meaning "so what" or "no big deal". This is very technical language, so I'm not sure ;D
« Last Edit: January 31, 2007, 02:31:16 PM by mayday_malone »
AKA Mayday

Bill_Yates

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Re:Week 9: The 9th at Oakmont
« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2007, 02:40:08 PM »
The "whoopsie-do" area on the 9th green is a channel sloping back to front and left to right separating the left two of the three plateaus making up the front of the green.  Shots played to the open left side of the green will many times find themselves at the bottom of this area.  Therefore, those who played "safely" to the left may need to putt up and out of this area no matter where the hole is cut.
Bill Yates
www.pacemanager.com 
"When you manage the pace of play, you manage the quality of golf."

Tim Gavrich

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Re:Week 9: The 9th at Oakmont
« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2007, 09:19:06 PM »
So players will be practicing their putting on the back part of the 9th green?  That is to say, if a player overclubs on his approach shot, his ball will come to rest at the feet of other competitors?  Or is there another putting green, and this one will be used exclusively for the 9th green?
Senior Writer, GolfPass

Bill_Yates

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Re:Week 9: The 9th at Oakmont
« Reply #23 on: February 01, 2007, 01:12:42 AM »
Tim,
Keep in mind, the green is huge.  In the past, the back half of the 9th green has continued to be used by the competitors as the practice putting green.  And yes, players have found their shots ending up on the putting green, and that really leaves them with a dicey putt to get anywhere near the hole.  Also, if a practice hole lies on a line between the player and the hole in play on #9, I believe that the USGA allows the player to take relief.  
Bill Yates
www.pacemanager.com 
"When you manage the pace of play, you manage the quality of golf."

Matt_Cohn

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Re:Week 9: The 9th at Oakmont
« Reply #24 on: February 01, 2007, 04:01:53 AM »
Whoopsie-do about the whoopsie-do.

Is there a ridge or other demarcation between the 9th green area and practice green area?

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