Grum­blings over greens

Los Angeles Times - - GOLF: U.S. OPEN - By Tod Leonard tod. leonard@ ut­sandiego. com

UNIVER­SITY PLACE, Wash. — The play­ers in the U. S. Open did not go qui­etly into the sunset on Puget Sound at Cham­bers Bay. Some torched it and its dy­ing greens, and none more so than Billy Horschel.

The for­mer PGA Tour FedEx Cup cham­pion stepped up to the podium af­ter his round of three- un­der­par 67 and said he’d been wait­ing all week to blow up about what he per­ceived was an un­fair setup, par­tic­u­larly on the putting sur­faces. He joked that he’d talk for an hour if re­porters wanted him to.

“I think a lot of play­ers, and I’m one of them, have lost some re­spect for the USGA and this cham­pi­onship this year for the greens,” Horschel said.

“[ USGA Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor] Mike Davis can push back as much as he wants, but when you have a ma­jor­ity of the play­ers com­ment­ing pub­licly, and some of them aren’t be­cause they don’t want to get the push- back from it, then there’s an is­sue. There’s ob­vi­ously an is­sue with these greens, and I don’t know if he’s just try­ing to sug­ar­coat it so it doesn’t look bad. I heard some­one say that the TV is mak­ing the greens look worse than they are. That’s a com­plete lie.”

Horschel said a Fox an­chor asked a cad­die ear­lier in the week if there was grass on the greens. The re­ply, he said, “Yeah, two blades, and they’re nowhere close to each other.”

Ernie Els said on Sun­day of the greens, “They’re ba­si­cally not liv­ing any­more.”

The crit­i­cism at Cham­bers has gone be­yond the greens. Horschel said the fans were “robbed” of a good view­ing ex­pe­ri­ence be­cause of the in­ac­ces­si­bil­ity to holes. Phil Mick­el­son said ear­lier in the week that his wife, Amy, gave up try­ing to fol­low him.

“To say they built this golf course for the U. S. Open is aw­ful,” he said. “And I heard Mike Davis had in­put into this golf course. That blows my mind that they would build a golf course and not think about the fans and the view­ing as­pect of it, be­cause that’s the great­est thing we have.”

For­mer U. S. Open cham­pion Ge­off Ogilvy ac­knowl­edged the dif­fi­culty for the fans, but de­fended the greens, say­ing, “I think peo­ple who are strug­gling with their putting re­ally have trou­ble on the bad greens, and the good put­ters just get on with it. I think there’s a lot about [ Cham­bers] that makes it a re­ally good venue.” Out with a whim­per

Mick­el­son closed with a three- over 73 to f in­ish at 13 over.

Af­ter open­ing with a promis­ing 69, the f ive- time ma­jor win­ner shot 74- 77- 73.

Mick­el­son looked more than ready to be done af­ter his strug­gles at the fin­ish­ing hole, which was play­ing as a par f ive. His third shot bounced just a yard into the deep fes­cue be­hind the green, and when Mick­el­son at­tempted a f lop shot, his club sliced un­der the ball and didn’t move. Mick­el­son stared down in dis­be­lief and swung again, get­ting on the green and two- putting for a dou­ble- bo­gey seven.

De­spite do­ing more ex­tra prepa­ra­tion than most for Cham­bers Bay, Mick­el­son, 45, was de­nied an Open win for the 25th time. Chip- ins

Adam Scott shot the course record with a six­un­der 64. The Aussie, who tied for fourth, didn’t make a bo­gey and birdied two of the last three … Still bat­tling ver­tigo, Jason Day shot 74 and tied for ninth af­ter be­gin­ning the round tied for the lead … USC alum Jamie Love­mark shot 70 and fin­ished tied for 18th in his f irst U. S. Open … World No. 1 Rory McIl­roy made a 72- foot ea­gle putt on his 13th hole, but stalled with two bo­geys in the f inal four holes to shoot 66 and tie for ninth at even. … Chris Kirk took a 10 on the first hole, need­ing five shots to get on the green af­ter his ball kept rolling back to him. … Irvine’s Brian Camp­bell, who shot 68, was the low am­a­teur at five over.

Matt York As­so­ci­ated Press

PHIL MICK­EL­SON walks to the 18th green dur­ing the f inal round of the U. S. Open. He closed with a three­over 73 to f in­ish at 13 over. Af­ter open­ing with a promis­ing 69, the f ive- time ma­jor win­ner shot 74- 77- 73.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.