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Congressional’s par-3 10th makes for an interesting opening hole

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Congressional Country Club poses an incredibly difficult test for every golfer in the field this week, but aside from the thick rough and fast-as-ice greens, players will have to deal with one other factor. As USA Today's Steve DiMeglio noted, that factor is teeing off on a par-3 to start the round.

With 156 players in the field, the USGA decided to send players off 1 and 10 on Thursday and Friday, meaning every player in the field will have to, at one point or another, contend with the 220-yard 10th to start the day.

Normally, this wouldn't be a major problem, but when you're talking about the first hole at a major compared to an average tour event, the stakes are sure to make the narrow green seem even smaller.

"Starting a round on 10, I can't see too many tougher holes to start on, especially off that back tee," Ernie Els said in his Tuesday press conference. "You might have to come off the range, hit your putts and then go to your first hole of the day, which could be a 4-iron over water and a bunker at the back. Incredibly difficult start."

The former 18th hole at the 1997 U.S. Open, the 10th is now playing in the opposite direction from the last time Congressional hosted the tournament. While the hole is downhill, it usually plays into the wind, and has a back bunker that should definitely be in play to gobble up shots that go long.

All in all, the 10th will make for an intriguing opening hole. And that's before you realize the par-4 11th, considered by many players to be one of the toughest hole on the course, lurks in the distance. But with a tough opener, players won't be able to think ahead to the next tee shot.

The hole is just another reason why the U.S. Open is the most mentally taxing tournament in golf.

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