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USGA executive director Mike Davis has stressed the importance of staging a memorable tournament after the controversies of the previous two years.
The 2015 championship at Chambers Bay was marred by the conditions of the greens – with Henrik Stenson describing them as like ‘broccoli’ among other complaints – while last year’s US Open at Oakmont was going fine until the Dustin Johnson rules debacle in the final round.
And, although Davis admits that there’s risk in going to another first-time venue, Erin Hills, he has vowed that nothing like what happened in 2015 and 2016 will occur again.
“When you look back at those two [Chambers Bay and Oakmont], I get it, people came away upset,” Davis told Golf.com in a wide-ranging Q&A.
“We’re coming off two in a row where we got a little black-and-blue. But when you look back at the Chambers Bay Open, you had great drama. You had Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson. Then at Oakmont, you could not have had worse weather.
“For Dustin Johnson, for what he was put through and then for him to do what he did, that was awesome. We’ve learned from those events. And we’ve made changes to make sure nothing like that happens again.
“We really need a good US Open. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to get it. Going to a new course, there’s more risk. We don’t have experience. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.”
Ahead of the championship getting underway, there are already murmurings of discontent, particularly at the length of the rough. Kevin Na criticised its length in a rant on his Instagram, while Lee Westwood posted this jokey video with his caddie Billy Foster.
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