Henrik Stenson, who is two shots behind the leaders after a relatively stellar 74, and described the greens in the afternoon as "crusty" and "baked" and "like glass around the hole", summed up the ongoing antagonism between the players and the USGA by saying: "I don't think they're interested in listening to my remarks, or anyone else's remarks, because then we would have seen maybe slightly different pin positions and setups over the years".
Only four players managed to break par and were tied for the lead at 1-under at the conclusion of Thursday's round, including the current top-ranked golfer in the world, Dustin Johnson.
It left four players level at three-over in the lead with a round to play - Johnson, Finau, Berger and Koepka, the defending champion.
Justin Rose, who putted brilliantly in the worst of the conditions to sit one shot off the lead, described himself as "shell-shocked".
"I knew if you hit the fairway and hit the green you were going to have some good looks". "I made three birdies today and they felt like eagles". "Need to putt a little better tomorrow".
Koepka oozed confidence over his chances of becoming the first since Curtis Strange in 1988-89 to win consecutive titles.
"There's nobody more confident", he told reporters.
After all, he was the lone survivor of Saturday's chaos, posting the best score of any player to tee off after noon at 1-over.
Few could have predicted at the start of the day that Berger and Finau would find themselves in the final pairing Sunday.
"It was a tale of two golf courses, and no doubt, we would admit, well-executed shots were not only not regarded, but were punished", said Mike Davis, the chief executive of the USGA and the man in charge of course setup.
"It started to get a lot firmer and faster", he said.
Indeed, the difference between the morning and afternoon conditions were stark, as the moisture got sucked out of the greens by a warm sun and consistent 20-mph wind.
Americans have won the last five majors - all of them in their 20s - and Koepka joined an elite group as only the seventh player to go back-to-back in what is regarded as golf's toughest test.
Little did he realize how true that would be.
Berger's round matched the lowest of the week, and it was soon equalled by Finau, who charged home in 31 strokes.
"I felt like I played pretty well", Johnson said.
"I had a chance".
Happy Father's Day, Vic Parziale. I feel for the spectators because they are seeing pure carnage - unless that's what they want.
"I had six or seven putts today that I could have easily putted right off the green, but that's what it is", he said.
If Fleetwood completes the comeback and wins his first major, he would be just one stroke off the biggest final-round comeback in U.S. Open history.
"It would just be nice, if I'm not sitting here wishing I made cut at five or six over", said Fowler, who teed off at 2:26 p.m.
William McGirt: "I refuse to watch it because I know what the outcome will be". Fair enough. But how much pleasure is there in watching the world's best golfers hit what they believe to be flawless shots, only to look on in horror as balls roll off the front of putting surfaces or fall off the back of greens? "You take the two shots and you move on".