Justin Rose criticises ‘weak’ course setup

Justin Rose

• Justin Rose critical of ‘incredibly weak’ course set-up
• The Englishman lost his singles match to Rickie Fowler
• “The pin on 17 was an absolute, you know, a joke,” he said


Justin Rose took a swipe at the Hazeltine course set-up for the Sunday singles of the Ryder Cup – branding it ‘incredibly weak’.

The 2013 US Open champion, who claimed two points from a possible five, lost to Rickie Fowler on the final hole of his singles match as Europe went down 17-11 as USA won the Ryder Cup for the first time in eight years.

“I thought the setup was incredibly weak” – Justin Rose

And while the European team was largely in good spirits following the defeat – with captain Darren Clarke saying he couldn’t be more proud of the team – Rose couldn’t help but get his feelings about the course off his chest.

Read more -> BLOG: The truth about US crowds


2016 Ryder Cup - Morning Foursome Matches

“Setup-wise, this course can be as tough as you want it to be, there’s no doubt about it,” said Justin Rose on Hazeltine, which also hosted the US PGA Championship in 2002 and 2009. “I think today, I think if we were all to be honest about it, I thought the setup was incredibly weak. I thought it was very much a Pro-Am feel in terms of the pin placements. They were all middle of the green.

“The pin on 17 was an absolute, you know, a joke” – Justin Rose

“I don’t quite understand that to be honest with you. Twelve world-class players here and 12 world-class players here in 30 minutes time, and we want to showcase our skills. We want to be tested. For example, the water holes out there, all the pins were as far away from the water as possible.

“I mean, the pin on 17 was an absolute, you know, a joke. It’s a 9-iron into the middle of the green and you stiff it. So with a match on the line, you kind of feel like you want to have something — you want a player to step up a little bit more than they have to.”


2016 Ryder Cup - Singles Matches

But Fowler disagreed.

“I don’t think it was easy by any means,” he said. “Him and I didn’t play as well as we would have liked to. We didn’t make many birdies on both sides. I felt like it was an even match between the two of us. Obviously, as you could see, no one was ever more than 1UP.

“I thought that the PGA did well all week, Kerry Haigh and the staff. Obviously when it comes down to singles, it’s fair. Everyone’s playing the same ones. So I thought it was a good setup today and it worked out just fine for us.”

Justin Rose :: Course set-up

Do you agree with Justin Rose that the course set-up was ‘incredibly weak’? Leave your thoughts in the ‘Comments’ section belo.w

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  1. Russell Knox

    October 3, 2016 at 10:28 am

    its irrelevant as its the same for both teams!

    I hope the ‘losers’ dont start with ‘weak’ excuses

  2. Michael McGinty

    October 3, 2016 at 10:43 am

    It was that weak he couldn’t hole a putt and only won 2 out of his 5 games. Would he have made the same comments if Europe had won?

  3. Gordon Finlay

    October 3, 2016 at 11:33 am

    It all came down to the putting in this set of matches again you can’t blame the course set up its the same for both teams but I think that two of the matches that Lee Westwood was involved in and lost were crucial and that cost us dear, I would like to so the rules on selecting players changed I don’t think that because a player plays most of his golf in the USA he can’t be be picked i.e. Knox and Casey, anyway that’s my opinion for what it worth. Well done to Europe for a valiant effort and here’s to winning the Ryder Cup back in Paris 2018

  4. Kenny Cruickshank

    October 3, 2016 at 11:42 am

    Come boys take it on the chin you were well beaten not just on Sunday but possibly on all three days. Perhaps a wee sneaky scotsman on the team might have made a difference!!!!!

  5. Roy mckeen

    October 3, 2016 at 11:54 am

    Dry your eyes and get on with it

  6. Paul Lavin

    October 3, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    Agree with other posters comments that the main issue for Europe was that several of the team including JR couldn’t hole their putts.

  7. Terry Wall

    October 3, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    Totally agree with you, Gordon. It’s not Team Europe, it’s the European Tour team (Europeans only!). It’s the equivalent of telling Mo Farah he can’t be in the Olympic team because almost all of his races are outside the UK! The other failing is the length of time to accumulate points – it should be no more than the previous six months, which would have meant that players who qualified at the end of 2015 and very start of 2016 would not have those results count (Sullivan and Fitzgerald would have probably been left out). I like Lee W a lot but he should never have been picked – Knox even made sure he joined the Euro Tour to qualify.

  8. Gary Robinson

    October 3, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    Thought Team Europe lost through the inability to hole putts at crucial times. It seemed that whenever US team had a chance, they invariably took it whereas we lipped out. Maybe it was just luck, maybe it was a lack of desire but let’s face up to it, buckle down and win it back in 2018!

  9. Jay Ward

    October 3, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    We lost! We could have won! But we badly missed for two reasons -1) The selection process did not allow Paul Casey to play, and loyalty to Lee Westwood took a two time PGA winner(Russel Kox) out of the team
    and 2) we putted worse than the USA
    Point 1) is easily corrected by being more sensible in future
    Point 2) not so easily corrected but no Lee Westwood and two experienced PGA tour players more on the team would have gone a long way towards improvement
    Final point – The Spanish comeback against Speith and Reed, followed by the great singles between McIlroy/Reed and Garcia/Mickelson made quite riveting TV, thanks boys!

  10. Pete Rodger

    October 3, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    Totally agree JW .

  11. Alan

    October 3, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    Sour grapes. Seems some elements of the Team want to blame the course and the US fans. Europe were beaten fair and square by a better team on the day. Saturday afternoon was the key. Having played their way back into the match, they gave it back again. Dodgy pairings and out of form golfers does not a Ryder Cup win make…. Man up and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

  12. Gerry

    October 3, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    Basically it all came down to the putting. USA holed virtually EVERYTHING & we didn’t, especially the English players.

  13. Maureen

    October 3, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    Agree with all the above comments, lee Westwood should not have been picked, if Darren wanted his friend along he should have picked him as a vice captain. Knox and Casey should have been there. Well done to the US team. Reed’s and Michelson match brilliant to watch.

  14. ALEX

    October 3, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    As I suggested prior to the Ryder Cup starting, Clarke would rue the day he allowed the “old pals act” to rule his selection.
    Westwood is an average putter and Kaymer has the horrors when it comes to chipping.
    Adding to the fact that so many of the team who were flying early on in the selection process, have suffered severe slump in form.
    Lastly, Knox could have made a difference, playing regularly on the American Tour, meant he would not have felt outside his comfort zone.

  15. bill m

    October 3, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    Played golf for close on fifty years and never come across bunkers (traps) that allow the ball to settle on the flat area. Might as well fill them in know hazard what so ever.

  16. ian stewart

    October 3, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    I was very disappointed with the comments by the Sky commentary team . They all said what a brilliant competition it was, but I found it difficult to enthuse over it due to the course set up.
    How many times did we see poor shots either hit spectator and stay in play , balls blocked out by tents or grandstands then dropped in an advantageous position or worst of all the fairway bunkers which were so easy to hit balls to the greens from over 180 yards.. The rough although difficult in places was in other areas cut too short. I understand the USA as home team can set the course up as they want but this would definitely put me off watching if this is the future .
    The USA team deserved to win but all round not as great a spectacle as it could and should be !

  17. ian stewart

    October 3, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    totally agree

  18. Mike G

    October 4, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    Typical Rose – blame something that’s the same for all. Perhaps had it been a bit harder he would have been beaten easier ! As for Mr Stewart’s comments above – totally disagree, as a number of people have already noted the 2 experienced gladiators, Sergio & Leftie , played a mesmerising game which would have been worth the entry fee alone. 9 under, bogey free and still can’t win the match – incredible ! Add the great opening match c/w with lion roaring imitations and the fact that apart from ‘One Hit Wonder ‘ Willett the other games were so close for so long, it was a great watch and if we want to keep it that way a great result.

  19. David c

    October 5, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    USA thoroughly deserved their win as they totally out putted our guys. However like Justin I can understand his frustrations. Hazeltine was set up like a holiday course. No rough of any length, fairway bunkers, all in the rough and were easy for players of Ryder Cup ability to easily get out of and onto most greens with ease. Pins placed in the center of many gteens.. It would be interesting to see stats on how many fairways each team hit and compare this to how many greens then hit. I know we all want to see lots of birdies and we did but ask yourself- in a normal event, particularly a high profile USPGA one have you ever seen a course with no rough and as wide open with no run off areas in and around the greens? In the end the best putters won but for me I’m left feeling the course was set up to place more emphasis on the ability to put than to hit fairways and stay out of trouble!!

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