It’s the most debated question when it comes to the U.S. Open – when is enough going to be enough with the United States Golf Association and the course set up.
Wouldn’t it be nice one year to have a tournament where there is no continual complaining about how unfair the course is? I understand that many out there look at the pampered, millionaire golfers complaining about the course being too hard and it’s tough to find any sympathy for them.
In the case of this year’s event last week at Shinnecock Hills in New York, the players have every right to be upset.
Look, it is nice to see the best players in the world challenged at least one week out of the year. Instead of letting them bomb away on every course, make it a test of the golf that rewards the shot-makers.
But when the greens become harder than the streets leading into the course, it makes for poor golf.
The first two days of the tournament were uneventful with the complaints and in fact, players were able to score on Friday. Then came the disaster that was Saturday.
Suddenly shots and putts that worked the first two days went right out the window. Players complained about the course, some even going as far as saying the USGA lost the course.
Phil Mickelson boiled over and double hit a putt, chasing down his initial putt before it stopped rolling and hit it back towards the hole.
What adds insult to injury if how they had the same problems in 2004 at Shinnecock, with the greens so bad, they were dumping water on them during the round – yes, during the rounds between groups.
The USGA needs to find a middle ground. Brooks Koepka won his second straight open, this time with a score of 1-over par. Tommy Fleetwood was one back at 2-over, then came Dustin Johnson at 3-over. There were only 15 players in the field that were better than 10-over par.
Not fun to watch and not good for the game.
Last year when Koepka won his first open at Erin Hills in Wisconsin, he was 16-under par and 27 players overall finished under par.
So, there are your two extremes. What will next year hold at Pebble Beach? My guess the winner will be right around even par, but it will because of a course set up that penalizes bad shots, not good ones.
Pebble is the type of course that will play tough enough with fairways narrowed and the rough grown taller. There is no need to mess with the greens to the point where they are like a jump house.
You want the course to reward great shots, not make a mockery of them. Here’s hoping that happens next year!