The players have been assessing the challenge they face ahead of the US Open, which gets underway on Thursday. Here we round up a few of their thoughts on the potentially brutal Oakmont set-up…

Rory McIlroy thinks a win here would cap anything he’s achieved so far:

“To be able to win on a course like this, with the conditions the way they are, it would be maybe my biggest accomplishment in the game. It definitely would make me feel like a more complete player.”

Ernie Els, who won the title at Oakmont in 1994, speaks from experience…

“This is going to test the boys this week, I promise you. Of the four rounds you’re going to play, at least one, maybe two is going to be a survival test. You’re going to have stretches where you’re going to have to try and survive, and it’s going to happen to every player in the field. That is why this is the ultimate US Open test at Oakmont … mental, physical, everything. So you’re probably going to need a couple of days off after Sunday.”

Masters Champion Danny Willett:

“I think it gives you a lot of options off the tee depending upon how aggressive you want to play, but then you have to be really careful on where you place your ball around the green. I think the onus is on fairways and greens this week, definitely, to try to give yourself the easiest way of making par.”

Rickie Fowler on what he’s experienced so far at Oakmont:

“I don’t think you can play enough rounds here to really know it. But some of the craziest greens I’ve ever played and most penal fairway bunkers I’ve entered.”

Russell Knox has not experienced the course himself but word has got around on tour…

“I have never been there but I have heard a lot of horror stories. Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar were having a conversation about it and I tried to get in on that. They said the fairway bunkers are extremely penal. If you drive it in one of those you are more than likely just hacking it out… similar to a pot bunker in links golf. I know the golf course is going to be brutally difficult but that’s quite right. It is the US Open, it needs to be difficult. That is why it produces the best winners.”

Finally, the challenge was summed up nicely by veteran Phil Mickelson last week, who simply said:

“I think it’s the hardest course I’ve ever played.”