Sport: Stone Face & the Monster

Along its narrow fairways, deep traps snare drives with the slightest hook. Around its undulating greens, bunkers catch approach shots with the smallest error. Golf Course Architect Robert Trent Jones fondly calls it "the greatest test of championship golf in the world." But to the 150 golfers who teed off in gusty winds last week to start the 61st U.S. Open, one of golf's most coveted prizes, Jones's 6,907-yd. Oakland Hills course in Birmingham, Mich., was simply "the Monster."

The Monster wasted no time claiming golf's biggest names. Cocky South African Gary Player, the Masters champion, was mystified by the rolling greens,...

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