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U.S. Open: Oakmont’s par 3 8th is big boy of short holes

Jordan Spieth watches his tee shot on the

Jordan Spieth watches his tee shot on the eighth hole during a practice round for the U.S. Open golf championship at Oakmont Country Club on Tuesday, June 14, 2016, in Oakmont, Pa. Credit: AP / Charlie Riedel

OAKMONT, Pa. — Three hundred yards remains a magic figure in golf. It still represents a healthy drive, even in this era of long-distance hitters. And here at Oakmont, it could be the length of a par 3.

No. 8 is officially listed at 288 yard for the U.S. Open, but it could be stretched to 300, which players do not believe is a stretch of the imagination. For Rory McIlroy, it was a 4-iron in practice on Tuesday. “One of the things about this golf course is, what the yardage says on the tee, it doesn’t play anything like that,” he said.

Masters champion Danny Willett said, “Yeah, it’s a different one, but they’ve been relatively sensible. It’s the flattest green on the golf course, a pretty big green.”

Two-time Open champion Curtis Strange, an analyst for Fox, said, “I was out there yesterday, looking at that and it’s OK. It’s a short par 4, big par 3. A big par 3 in the day was 230 and a short par 4 was 330. Why wouldn’t there be a hole somewhere in between? When you really think about it, par makes no difference.”

Rickie Fowler called the hole “very playable,” but added, “You won’t see many 2s there. Take 3 and walk away.”

Phil goes to daughter’s event

Phil Mickelson left after his practice round Monday, got on a private jet and flew home to California for the eighth-grade graduation of his daughter Sophia. He is expected back on Wednesday. He made a similar trip for older daughter Amanda’s eighth-grade graduation when the Open was at Merion three years ago, returning early on Thursday morning. It didn’t seem to hurt him. He led after each of the first three rounds and tied for second behind Justin Rose.

Willett doesn’t pack green jacket

Willett said that he wears the Masters green jacket at “different times when you go to events. That’s when it gets packed.”

How about this week? “At the minute, it’s still hung up at home. I didn’t need to bring it here.”

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