TOWN OF ERIN -- More often than not the winning score at the U.S. Open is within a few strokes of even par, which means 288 is a pretty good target at Erin Hills this week.
Discounting Rory McIlroy's winning score of 16-under in 2011, an aberration because Congressional Country Club was inundated by rain, the average winning score since 2006 has been 1.1 strokes under par.
Jordan Spieth, the 2015 U.S. Open champion, thinks the winner at Erin Hills could get to 10-under.
"I don't see par winning the tournament," he said Tuesday. "I see closer to 5- to 10-under. Someone who has very good control of the ball off the tee will have plenty of opportunities to make birdies, given the conditions that we're expecting."
Spieth was referring to heavy rain Monday and Tuesday, with more in the forecast for Wednesday and possibly Friday and Saturday.
"I think the USGA is very much OK with that," Spieth said of a lower-than-usual winning score. "I think that they're looking for a really exciting championship that they'd like to be tough but fair. And if the conditions bring the scores further away from par, so be it."
Jason Day said he doesn't care about the winning score, as long as he's in the mix.
"They can set up the course whatever they want the score to be," Day said of the United States Golf Association. "If 5-over ends up winning, I'm OK with that. If they say we want 10-over par to win, I'm OK with that. If at the end of the week it's over par that wins and I get a chance to do that, then great."
Honorary cheesehead: Day made the now-defunct U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee one of his first stops as a professional golfer and in 2015 won the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.
Now the Australian has a chance to win the first-ever U.S. Open in Wisconsin.
"I might buy a house up here if I win," he said. "I might become a Packers fan. I might start eating cheese.
"Yeah, there's a lot of good memories coming back. The people are fantastic. I love the people up here. Very, very nice. Very genuine people. That would be a really neat thing to be able to win my first two majors in the state of Wisconsin."
Still no Phil: It's looking more and more like Phil Mickelson will miss his first U.S. Open since 1993, though he still had not withdrawn as of Tuesday night.
He plans to attend his daughter Amanda's high school graduation in Carlsbad, Calif., on Thursday morning and there's no way he could make his scheduled 2:20 p.m. (Central) tee time unless there was a significant weather delay.
Mickelson was scheduled to appear at a pre-championship news conference Tuesday but was scratched.
Chip shots: Defending U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson made it to Erin Hills and got in some practice Tuesday. According to reports, his fiance, Paulina Gretzky, gave birth to the couple's second child Monday.
Steve Stricker, a brand ambassador for Stelle Audio, will wear the company's logo on his shirts and outerwear starting this week.
If the par-5 18th hole plays at 675 or more yards at least one day, it will be the second-longest hole in U.S. Open history. No. 12 at Oakmont Country Club measured 684 yards in the first round in 2016.
This article is written by Gary D'Amato from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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