Oakmont's greens tougher than Augusta: Schwartzel
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
OAKMONT, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - As a former Masters champion, Charl Schwartzel has conquered some of the toughest greens in golf but the South African rates this week's U.S. Open venue as an even more brutal test.
While the putting surfaces at Augusta National, permanent home of the Masters, are renowned for their heavy contours and lightning-fast pace, Schwartzel says there are "many more variables" on the notorious greens at Oakmont Country Club.
"These greens are more difficult than at the Masters," the world number 22 told Reuters after playing a practice round at par-70 Oakmont with fellow South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace on a sun-splashed Monday.
"Augusta has big slopes but they are gradual, almost constant in a way. Here you've got big slopes that have four breaks. The ball comes off a break and it will turn the other way and it will go back the other way and then down a hill.
"There are so many more variables here, so many slopes. To get speed right here is going to be so hard, and it's going to be key this week."
Making the challenge even more daunting for the players this week is the tangly Oakmont rough, some of the deepest Schwartzel has ever seen.
"This rough is really, really, really juicy," said the 31-year-old, who clinched his first major title at the 2011 Masters with a grandstand finish when he birdied the last four holes.
"The ball goes so down in this, you can get some lies where you can't even see the ball when you stand over it. It's just so, so, so severe." Continued...