An Aussie fond of cheeseheads: Jason Day all in on Wisconsin

McIlroy added that he's played "eight or nine rounds" in the past 10 days, including two full 18-hole rounds at U.S. Open host course Erin Hills over the past weekend.

It's more than worth the trouble for the 30-year-old Mexico native who now lives in SC and plays most of his golf on the Tour. "We have 60 yards from the left rough to the right rough".

Coming to relatively new Erin Hills, which is hosting its maiden major championship, gives the world's best golfers a taste of the unknown this week at the US Open. Thomas has played in the U.S. Open two times in his career, missing the cut in 2014 and finishing 32 a year ago. "Even the first and second cut [of intermediate rough] is another 10 yards on top of that", McIlroy said on Tuesday.

So the US national championship probably will go on without the two figures that have dominated American golf for the past 20 years.

"I had more and more people come up to me and say, 'Hey why aren't you in?' and pretty soon it became a little chip on my shoulder that I had to work a little bit harder to try to get in", said Stricker, whose wife will caddie for him.

"It (U.S. Open) certainly tests the mental game more than any other place in golf". So if you've got 50 or 60 yards to hit into and you're complaining about the fescue that's wider than that, I don't think that's an issue.

The tall fescue has been a talking point since players began visiting Erin Hills in recent weeks.

"I think a year ago I missed it by two or three (at U.S. Open sectional qualifying), and that kind of woke me up to think, hey, this could be a real thing".

The only thing we're sure of before this tournament starts is that the course will be long.

"Whether this is going to continue or not, or if there are going to be a few guys stepping up and becoming second- and third-time winners short of them having more first-timers, I guess that's yet to see". "I'm just going to prepare to be the first one in here waiting for whoever decides to drop out if there's somebody injured or somebody's sick or something...." The ovation I got when I went up on 9 yesterday. And I think everyone's kind of on a level playing field right now and the golf course is great. "Preparation-wise, instead of hitting five bags of balls, I'll hit two, just something like that". "It's special. One of the reasons I wanted to play here is I knew it would be fun to play in front of your home crowd". Spain's Sergio Garcia won the Green Jacket at the 2017 Masters Tournament in Augusta back in April.

"It's a US Open, they expect our best. Once you've played it, you should know where to go", he said.

So, understandably, there is a good bit of curiosity and consternation about an Erin Hills layout that is spectacular in its scope and size, spread out over 652 acres - approximately four times more land than a typical American course - and offering the usual concerns about difficulty. It will be longer, and it will probably have a higher missed fairway penalty given how badly you have to hit a shot here to actually miss a fairway.

"I'm feeling better", McIlroy said. Most likely golfers will lose their ball if they hit it into those areas. It means I can go out and play.

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