Even with a short course made soft by torrential rain, Ernie Els was not about to confidently predict this week's US Open would see the first ever round of 62 in a major championship.

At 6,996 yards, Merion is the shortest major course for more than a decade and one whose typical defences of hard, fast fairways and greens have been negated by the weather in Pennsylvania.

That has raised the possibility of the major scoring record of 63 - achieved 25 times in total - finally being lowered, but two-time US Open winner Els was not so sure.

"We're going to have a soft golf course this week," Els said.

"It means that if you're on your game you're going to have a lot of birdie putts. There's quite a few par fours where you've just got to put it in the fairway.

"I can see pin placements are going to be quite tough to protect the course. You're going to see a lot more birdies than ever before at US Open venues. But the finish is still very strong.

"Anything can happen, but I'm not going to say anybody is going to shoot a 62 at a US Open. Guys who have never played a US Open, they might be lulled into thinking, 'Hey, this is not all that bad.'

"I'm playing my 21st US Open, so I've seen a lot of trouble out there. You can get on a run, you can make some threes. But if you start missing some shots, the rough is as bad as I've ever seen it. If you hit it in the rough here you're just advancing it 120 yards, 140 yards, most of the time. That's still very penal.

"The greens are quite tricky. If you miss it on the wrong side it's still tricky. But if you're on your game I think a guy could get a score going. I'm not saying 62, though."

"I see a very close race with a lot of players in contention this year. It's going to be bunched. It's going to be under par, you'll be seeing quite a few numbers in the red. What number is going to win, I have no idea.

"It's still a US Open, I don't care if you play the easiest course in the world. Put US Open in front of it everybody gets nervous, especially over the weekend."

After a downpour on Friday caused by the remnants of tropical storm Andrea, more torrential rain fell on the East Course on Monday, causing practice rounds to be suspended in mid-afternoon and the course closed shortly before 5pm local time.

USGA executive director Mike Davis remains confident the "doomsday of all doomsday scenarios" involving using two holes on the West Course will not be necessary, but when asked on Twitter whose game would be suited to Merion, Ian Poulter wrote: "Someone who can use flippers and snorkel the best."