Erin Hills and Rory McIlroy: a match made in Wisconsin

The U.S. Open at expansive Erin Hills, located about 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee, brings Day back to the same state where he claimed the biggest of his 10 PGA Tour victories two years ago.

The key, Spieth said, would be conquering the mental challenges thrown up by a tournament portrayed as the toughest test in golf.

"These are the widest fairways we've ever played in a US Open", McIlroy said.

Stricker said his hard-working path to the U.S. Open, where he will seek his maiden major title, reflects the values of Wisconsin people in general and that he is happy about earning his place rather than having it handed to him. The fact is, numerous lies in the fescue were nearly unplayable anyway, which along with wind is the course's best defense against the top players in the world.

He could have already played in his last U.S. Open.

MIKE DAVIS, USGA executive director: If you were to pace off the [fairway] widths [at Erin Hills] and compare them to, say, a Winged Foot or Pebble Beach or Oakmont, I dare say they're 50 percent wider and in some cases they're easily double the width.

A final round meltdown at the Masters past year came to define his 2016 campaign, but Spieth says he is in a positive frame of mind as he aims to repeat his 2015 US Open victory in Wisconsin.

"We have 60 yards from left line to right line", McIlroy said. It's the U.S. Open. "And if guys can't put it into play within a 50-yard zone I don't think they've got much to complain about".

"Really? You've got 156 of the best players in the world here", he said. I've had a lot of time to think over the last few weeks and sort of figure out what I need to do to get back to winning majors and being in contention. "But it doesn't mean that if I play well and I have a chance on Sunday, it's going to be easier. I feel like I can pick up confidence pretty quickly". It is right there and I'm getting those feelings a little bit like I had leading into the Masters in '13 where I'm getting on a mission to win a second one.

"It's truly fantastic to me to just look how things have changed", Rahm said on Monday.

The four-time major victor reported some discomfort last time out at The Players Championship last month, but insists the rib will not be an issue this week.

"I'm looking to play well", he said Tuesday.

"My expectations going into Whistling, I was playing well. But I look at more during the round knowing that, OK, the middle part of my round's probably the hardest part of my round, per se".

"I wanted to get some rest at home, work out, practice on my game".

"My long game certainly lifted last week in Memphis, which I was really happy to see".

The world number two finished seventh, fourth and seventh in his first three strokeplay events on his return, but a recurrence of the problem during the Players Championship saw him withdraw from the BMW PGA Championship and Memorial Tournament. That move is even more admirable given the undercurrent of the Scottish and Irish Opens jostling for prominence; the world No2's charity foundation now hosts the latter.

"I think it will allow guys to be aggressive".

"And there have been a couple of times where I have let it get in my head".

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