The USGA has attempted to cool talk of players boycotting future US Opens, insisting that it understands how “critical” it is that this week’s championship passes without controversy.
Recent stagings of the major have been dogged by a litany of issues, from the organisation’s handling of Dustin Johnson’s contentious penalty at Oakmont in 2016 to the set-up of Chambers Bay a year earlier and Erin Hills and Shinnecock Hills in the last two years.
That has led to speculation that several high-profile players are prepared to sit out the championship going forward and until such times as the USGA rights its wrongs.
Speaking to the media ahead of this week’s championship at Pebble Beach, USGA chief executive Mike Davis admitted that the organisation is aware of the reports.
“We have decided we're going to take the high road on it,” he said. “We're focused on this week and moving forward. So I'll just leave it at that. Certainly it's in everybody's best interests to really look forward and make sure that this championship is conducted in the most favourable manner as it possibly can.”
The USGA’s senior managing director of championships John Bodenhamer assumes the responsibility of setting up the host course beginning this year, replacing Davis, and he is in no doubt as to how important it is that week’s event passes without incident.
“I think it's critical,” he said. “We've talked about it all year long. I think it's important not only for the USGA but for the game and what we do for the game.
“We all feel a great obligation in that regard, not just to the championship but also to serve the mission of the USGA. But we feel good about our plan. We feel good about what you see on the golf course and what we're going to present to the players as a tough but true test.
“We will follow what the architect intended with that true test in the way the golf course is presenting both on the putting greens and the fairways. Pebble Beach is such a wonderful place with what we try to accomplish in achieving a tough test.”