Mike Davis, the CEO of the USGA, has admitted that he and his team got it wrong in setting up Shinnecock Hills for the third round of this year’s US Open.
Davis faced the media at the completion of play last night at the end of a wild day in which the field played the course in an average of 5.3 shots over par and where three-over now leads the tournament.
And that’s to say nothing of Phil Mickelson’s incredible rules breach.
“We felt good about the set-up when we left this morning,” explained Davis. “We felt that it would work well given the forecast we had, but I think that, now that I'm sitting here, we would say that parts of this test of golf simply were too tough.
MORE - English pro speaks out after worst US Open score in 16 years“We want the US Open to be tough, but we saw some examples late in the day where well executed shots were not only not being rewarded, but in some cases penalised.”
The 15th at the US Open. A Joke. pic.twitter.com/mRrM4hQaSw— Tweeter Alliss (@TweeterAlliss) June 16, 2018
“We simply got higher winds than we anticipated. The grass really began to dry out. In fact, if you looked at it at the end, it was almost wilting around there, and it just didn't have enough grass to hold the ball up.
“We must slow the course down tonight, and we will. So that probably means more water applied.”
Davis’ explanation did little to placate some of the players who had to take the course in the worst of the conditions.
Ian Poulter was particularly critical:
Is that an apology ?— Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) June 17, 2018
Just grow a set of balls and say we £€¥#ed it up again...
You don’t get mulligan’s in business at this level. how can this team keep doing this without consequences. https://t.co/INvUmT6M6P
Thanks guys did Bozo set the course up or are the @USGA going to accept responsibility or just say “IF WE HAD A MULLIGAN” I would have liked about 6 mulligans today. But they are not allowed at this level. “Apparently” pic.twitter.com/O08vOpNlTx— Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) June 17, 2018
Plenty of others chimed in, too.
Painful finish with a 7 at the last that ruins a pretty decent day. Regardless, it was not a fair test of golf. Greens were unplayable, with unnecessary pin positions. @USGA found a way to make us look like fools on the course.A pity they manage to destroy a beautiful golf course— Rafa Cabrera Bello (@RCabreraBello) June 16, 2018
I couldn’t care less where we play the us open, the tournament is difficult, period, what I think is from the kingdom of hypocrisy is that they are the ones changing rules to play faster and grow the game, and I honestly don’t see that we are going to achieve that this week.— Emiliano Grillo (@GrilloEmiliano) June 17, 2018
Isn’t how I pictured, but shot +4 and moved 3 spots closer to the lead 🤷🏽♂️ haha today was interesting! #thatwashard— Justin Thomas (@JustinThomas34) June 17, 2018
The one thing this championship shines light on every year is how great the @PGATOUR staff does at setting up golf courses for us week in and week out.— Graham DeLaet (@GrahamDeLaet) June 16, 2018
What did you make of the course set-up?
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