Meanwhile, the Oakmont course was yielding surprising numbers of low-scoring rounds. Watson's 67 on Thursday was one of 16 sub-par performances on the day. There were four more 67s on Friday, and 10 other rounds below par. Along came Saturday and a couple of 66s by Pate and Gil Morgan, and there were no fewer than 18 other sub-par rounds that day, including the 67 which gave Watson his five-stroke lead on the field. Before the tournament ended, Oakmont would yield 64 rounds under par.
Still, the "winning" total of 276, eight under par, was hardly a humiliating figure for the Oakmont members. Granted, it was lower than some people had shot at other PGA venues of far less stature, such as Pecan Valley and Columbine and Aronomink, but it was purely a result of the soft conditions. On a faster track there might have been 30 guys in the sudden-death playoff—or no winner at all.
For the silly old romantics, however, it was much better to see John Mahaffey hopping around out there on the other side of the Turnpike.