Organisers at the Erin Hills course took action on Tuesday, chopping back some of the rough in a move that world number two and 2011 U.S. Open champion McIlroy felt was unnecessary.
PGA Tour victor, Kevin Na demonstrated the sheer difficulty of escaping from the native grasses, which had looked set to devour wayward golf balls and lead to potentially high scores.
But the short hole proved too good to live without and this week its 150 yards will test the world's best players.
"We have 60 yards from the left line to the right line. If we can't hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home", McIlroy said.
"What's interesting is if we had a sudden-death playoff one player would have won, if it's a three- or four-hole playoff another player would have won", he said. Even the first and second cut is another 10 yards on top of that. "Because, yeah, I'm starting to get a lot more confidence over the last two events I've played compared to the first nine events that I played".
"Usually, when you hear people complain, it's one less guy you have to worry about at the start of the week", Day said.
And that, my friends, is the way to handle the challenges (in this case the high fescue) of a U.S. Open course. However, the rest of the grass remains in place, and will be a punishing for any player who misses the fairways by a significant distance.
"I've had a good couple of practice rounds at Erin Hills and really like the course", said Johnson. It goes in these collection areas and run-offs.
If Spieth sounds like a man who has played Erin Hills in the heat of competition, he has. "I didn't feel like my body was restricting me in any way from doing what I wanted to do", he said. "And if I play the way that I know I can, I fully expect to have a chance on Sunday".
"(Erin Hills) is kind of rolling hills, although neither one has a tree that I remember on the golf course.
Asked about the potential for a Scottish victor on Sunday, Knox, who will be in the same group as Laird over the first two days, said: "Well, there's three of us playing so that's obviously good".
But it is just his seventh event of the season and the first since he withdrew from last month's BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth with a niggling rib injury. It gives you a lot of opportunities to hit the pin. "So as it all turned out, it was meant to be the way I did it and I feel better about the way I earned my way in here". "And you need to have driver in your hand here if you want to take advantage of the golf course".
The 50-year-old Stricker, a 12-times victor on the PGA Tour who ranked as high as second in the world rankings, has pared down his tournament golf in recent seasons and played just eight events on the PGA Tour this season.
This much he knows: The course is long; wind and weather can play a huge role.