Wednesday, October 26 2016


Teed Off (Jun 28, 2015)

Update: June, 29/2015 - 14:55

with Robert Bicknell

First of all, congrats to Jordan Spieth on his win at the US Open. He played well and deserved to walk out as champion. Also, kudos to Dustin Johnson for making things interesting as it came down to the wire.

Unfortunately, the 2015 US Open is history, it go down in history as a major debacle in the eyes of many players, spectators and viewers at home. In an attempt to play down the awful conditions of the greens, the USGA tap-danced like Bojangles, but there was no denying the truth.

They blew it.

The USGA has some of the top agronomists in the world either working or consulting for them. Didn't any of these geniuses consider the effect of a poa annua / fescue green mix?

Weeks before the tournament, the greens were actually "green" and in fairly decent shape but quite slow. For the event, they got cut down and rolled, which sort of killed off some the fescue leaving only poa and dirt on some holes.

Normally, I take great delight in watching the top players in the world lose their minds, but not under conditions like this. This wasn't even fair. There is a world of difference between "brutally hard, but fair" and "simply ridiculous" and selecting a location where spectators had a limited view of most holes is even more ridiculous.

The greens were garbage and described by the players as "broccoli" or "cabbage".

Billy Horschel was particularly vehement in his comments; Gary Player was also quite vocal about what he thought of this year's tournament. Ian Poulter called the greens "simply the worst most disgraceful surface I have ever seen on any tour in all the years I have played. The US Open deserves better than that".

The course itself was scenic and there were few complaints on how it played from tee to green, but even so, a few caddies took a tumble down the slope, which required a quick trip to the hospital - one had a suspected fractured arm.

Yes, Tiger Woods was also seen sliding butt first down a hill, albeit not on purpose.

Speaking about Tiger… When two of the top players in the world, Tiger Woods and Ricky Fowler post a combined 161 (80 and 81 respectively) in the first round, it's a good indication that something is very wrong. Tiger's score is understandable, but Fowler?

Also, I personally don't think Dustin Johnson suffered a "meltdown", even though one media outlet actually tried to claim it was even worse that Jean van de Velde's at the Open Championship in 1999 at Carnoustie.

Someone please tell the media to stop drinking USGA Kool-Aid…

If you watch the replay on his comeback putt, you can actually see the ball squiggle down the line. During the event, many putts squiggled, as seen by Billy Horschel's "snake dance" (not to mention his attempt at slamming his putter into the green in frustration). Granted, he should have taken a little more time over the comeback putt, but to be honest, the greens decided the champion, not the players.

At that level, putting is what separates the great from the guys trying to make cuts. They can all hit the ball where they want it to go, but when you have to calculate bounces in a putt, there is something wrong.

Still, some players, like Adam Scott managed to play quite well (final round 64), but the problem was doing it consistently and that course was anything but consistent.

Hey, when you have a hole that is a Par 4 on one day and a Par 5 the next, you have to wonder if the USGA is smoking whacky weed - which, by the way, was legal to bring with you into the tournament. On the other hand, you couldn't bring in a bottle of water.

Why am I not surprised?

Next major is the Open Championship at St Andrews - the home of golf and a true links course. You can be sure the R&A will show the USGA how to set up a links course for a major championship without ridiculous trickery.

Jordan Spieth is now halfway to his grand slam. A win at St Andrews would be remarkable, but the kid has a lot of game.

This will be fun to watch. — VNS

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