I think the first six holes are really the key this week. This opening stretch features the only two par-5s on the course, and five of those six are legitimate birdie holes.
It's possible we could see some guys play that stretch in 3- or 4-under. I think you'd have to be at least 1- or 2-under to keep pace with the field over that span. After No. 6, there aren't a lot of birdie holes left on the course, so players will have to really take advantage of that stretch.
On the other hand, if you get off to a bad start and play those six holes at 1- or 2-over, you're in big trouble.
I think putting is going to be huge this week. In combination with that, players are going to have to keep their approach shots below the hole, in places that you can make putts. With these slopes, players aren't going to make putts here if they leave it 20 feet above the hole. The greens are going to be much more difficult to putt if they dry out.
If the course plays as tough as the USGA wants it to, players will really have to pick their spots. There are certain holes they can be aggressive on, and others they just have to lay back and play smart. At some of the tougher holes -- such as the fifth, ninth, 12th and 17th -- they have to go in thinking of just putting the ball on the green, and walking away with par.