ARDMORE, Pa. -- Graeme McDowell, the 2010 U.S. Open champ who almost pulled off a second win last year at the Olympic Club, said the final five holes this week will provide Merion with the kind of defense that should prevent players from going really low on the less-than-7,000 yard layout.
"I can't think of a tougher finish that I've seen at a U.S. Open," McDowell said.
Here's how the Northern Irishman sizes up each of the last five holes:
14TH HOLE (par 4, 464 yards): "An incredibly difficult golf hole. If you miss it left off the tee, it's either lost ball (or) if you do find it, you're going back to the tee box, it's unplayable."
15TH HOLE (par 4, 411 yards): "You're aiming at the road. Guys are going to be hitting it out of bounds there for fun. The right hand side is deep rough and deep bunkers."
16TH HOLE (par 4, 430 yards): "With that tier in the green, as soft as it is now, it's going to be tough to find the top portion -- that is if you find the fairway. Very difficult second shot."
17TH HOLE (par 3, 246 yards): "It's all you want."
18TH HOLE (par 4, 521 yards)" "I missed my drive slightly off the back tee last Wednesday, I missed the fairway. They've got all the length there."