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Golfers whining about the US Open


Funny...Goosen and Mickelson didn't seem to have that much trouble. :roll1:

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. -- Jerry Kelly looked at his scorecard. 81. He looked at the scoreboard. He had plenty of company -- 17 scores were worse than his, or about to be.

Higheset Scoring Opens
Year Score Course
1972 78.8 Pebble Beach Golf Links
2004 78.7 Shinnecock Hills Golf Club
1963 77.4 The Country Club
1992 77.3 Pebble Beach Golf Links
1955 76.6 The Olympic Club
1952 76.0 Northwood Club
Note: Since World War II

He looked over and, in a nod to United States Golf Association officials, said: "When are they going to grow a head? I have no idea."

Kelly was the most vocal spokesman -- but by no means the only one -- for a U.S. Open field brought to its knees by the course setup at Shinnecock Hills. Dry fairways, even drier greens and a steady breeze sent scores and tempers soaring Sunday.

"They've done it again," said Kelly, still seething at the USGA. "I think they've topped themselves this year."

"If they play well, they deserve to be under par, but not like this," said Tiger Woods, who shot 76. "This is not the way it's supposed to be played."

The average score Sunday was 78.72 at Shinnecock Hills. Nobody broke par. Nearly half the field -- 28 of 66 players -- couldn't break 80.

Robert Allenby shot an even-par 70. He went from a tie for 34th to a tie for seventh place. Els shot 80 and didn't fall out of the top 10.

Par meant about as much as Jessica Simpson's IQ. In truth, it may well have been higher.

"Veey, what'd you shoot," Kelly hollered over to Vijay Singh as they crossed paths behind the 18th green. He was told 78.

"78 ... par," Kelly said.

To a player, none blamed Shinnecock Hills. In fact, to a man they'd love to come back for a fourth U.S. Open at the venerable venue, one of five founding members of the USGA.

Instead, the venom went straight to the USGA brass.

"I think they're ruining the game," said Kelly. "They're ruining the tournament. This isn't golf. Period."

Sunday, Bloody Sunday
On Sunday, 17 of the 18 holes at Shinnecock Hills played harder than they did the rest of the week. Below are the field averages, followed by how the hole ranked overall (1 being hardest, 18 being easiest):
Hole Rounds 1-3 Round 4
1 4.106/15 4.530/10
2 3.210/11 3.561/6
3 4.231/10 4.409/15
4 4.286/6 4.545/7
5 4.658/18 4.818/17
6 4.326/3 4.758/2
7 3.371/1 3.652/4
8 4.117/14 4.667/3
9 4.252/8 4.576/5
10 4.345/2 5.030/1
11 3.302/5 3.500/12
12 4.095/16 4.545/7
13 4.130/13 4.545/7
14 4.273/7 4.530/10
15 4.239/9 4.500/12
16 4.846/17 4.803/18
17 3.160/12 3.485/14
18 4.319/4 4.273/17
Total 73.266 78.727

Kirk Triplett finished up his 77 and put his thumb in his ears and wiggled his fingers, as if to mock the golf gods (or, more likely, USGA championship committee officials). Jeff Maggert made par at the seventh hole, which had to be watered between groups just to keep balls from sliding off it, and fired his ball into the crowd as though he'd won the championship.

"It's a shame when they push the golf course to the limit as much as they have in this particular case," said Tom Kite, who won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in 1992 in a nasty wind.

Sunday, the 10th hole -- a par-4 -- played like a par-5 (it averaged 5.030). The seventh hole got all the attention because the USGA had to water the green to keep balls from trickling off it, but it wasn't even among the three hardest holes on the course.

Players hit less than half the fairways Sunday. They hit about a third of the greens in regulation. The highest final-round scoring average ever was 78.8 at Pebble Beach in 1972. It was less than 1/10th of a point lower than that at Shinnecock Hills.

"Do you guys like us looking like a bunch of idiots out there?" asked Cliff Kresge, who shot 82 and finished 24 over. "It's not fun to hit a ball and watch it go back to your feet. I don't know how much people enjoy this."

Amateur Bill Haas said the greens were so slick, "I couldn't even lean on my putter. It would slide out from under me. It was like glass."

There were few complaints on Thursday and Friday, when scores averaged around 73 (73.4 on in Round 1; 73.0 in Rounds 2). Rain overnight Thursday may have given a false sense that the course was moist. It wasn't.

"The first two days were tough, yes, but they were fair," Woods said. "And there's nothing wrong with a golf course being tough, as long as it's fair. We had a few guys under par. That's the way it should be."

Mark Calcavecchia shot 75. He jokingly asked what time play started on Sunday morning and was told 9:40 a.m. ET.

"Well, 9:40, the greens were lost," Calcavecchia said. "They were dead from the start. It's the USGA"s fault. They're trying to throw a little water on them to make it look like they're doing something, but it's not doing any good whatsoever. It's not the first time they've done this, and it won't be the last.

"And on that note, I need a beer."

He wasn't alone.
It never ceases to amaze me how they all say they love "US Open golf" and "challenging courses" and all that, then bitch when they can't birdie 9 of the 18 holes every day and the winning score is less than -10. Sucks when you actually have to hit the green in regulation to make a birdie...these guys are assclowns. Say what you want about Duval, at least he took his scores without complaining.
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Say what you want, but I happen to agree with some of their comments. This is not about having to hit the green in regulation to make birdie. This is about having to put your approach shot in a bunker to have a chance at making par. That's what was happening. Several of the par 3s had to be played by putting your tee shot into a bunker to have any chance at par ... that's just stupid. The 7th hole was a joke. There is no way that a putt that is struck hard enough to move 3 feet should end up rolling another 20 feet off the green. There are very few places where an uphill putt should stop, and then roll back downhill past the position of the original putt. That's not golf ... even for the best players in the world. I'd say the problem with golf is in the advances in equipment, not the courses. If you want to keep players from breaking par, limit the advances in equipment, don't make golf courses that are unplayable.

I do agree that they should shut their yaps in public. They all played under the same conditions ... so be it. If there's a problem, take it up with the PGA behind closed doors.
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I agree, the whining is BS. It was equally tough on all of them, so who cares. Goosen shot 1 over par yesterday for gosh sakes. The last Open like this one was in 99 or so-Payne Stewart (RIP) really choked the last day at the Olympic Club in San Fran. I don't know if anyone shot par for that championship, actually.
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stx: Payne won in '99...are you thinking of someone else?

No wait, I just looked it up...I think you were thinking of 1998 actually stx...he won in 99 right before his death (RIP)
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Funny...Goosen and Mickelson didn't seem to have that much trouble.

You know, when I saw they title of the thread on the main page, I just knew that tibor started it. What a dick head. If he even had a clue about the game of golf, he'd know what absolute joke that green was. By the way, Mickelson did have problems with the greens, or did you miss his 3-putt from inside 10 feet? Moron.
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MililaniBuckeye said:
Funny...Goosen and Mickelson didn't seem to have that much trouble.

You know, when I saw they title of the thread on the main page, I just knew that tibor started it. What a dick head. If he even had a clue about the game of golf, he'd know what absolute joke that green was. By the way, Mickelson did have problems with the greens, or did you miss his 3-putt from inside 10 feet? Moron.


Yes, golf is much better when fat alcoholics can come out of nowhere and win a golf major...

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. -- Somewhere in Scotland, probably in a pub near Carnoustie Golf Club, a whimsical course superintendent with a wicked sense of justice is staring into a pint of beer and smiling.

John Philp, the mad scientist who set up Carnoustie for the 1999 British Open and then endured the wrath of the world's best players who screamed the course was unfair, most likely loved what he saw Sunday at the U.S. Open. He knows the winner of this championship was Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. And to those competitors who walked away whining after Shinnecock took them to their knees, Philp would likely say what he said back in 1999: "Hogan would have figured out a way."

The truth is Shinnecock was a brutally difficult test of golf for the final round of the U.S. Open. But the truth is also that for the national championship that is as it should be.

And the further truth is that Retief Goosen and Phil Mickelson made like Ben Hogan on Sunday and figured it out, both turning in impressive rounds of 1-over-par 71 under the intense pressure that can only be created by major championship golf. Virtually to a man, the contestants at the 104th U.S. Open felt that Shinnecock Hills is a great golf course but that the United States Golf Association crossed the line from stern test to goofy golf in the way they set up the layout.

John Philp believed that part of the complete test of golf is an exploration of a player's patience and how well he handles unfortunate bounces and bad breaks. Life is not fair, Philp would say, and so also is golf unfair at times. And he would be correct.

Goosen was steadier than anyone else in the chase.

For most of the season, PGA Tour players can execute target golf, playing high shots to soft fairways and receptive greens. The U.S. Open requires players to recalibrate their brains for every shot. Nothing can be done out of habit. Every shot is a creative adventure that must be rethought anew.

That is part of the identifying character of the U.S. Open, and it is a grueling and demanding process. Part of the fun of the Masters is that players can shoot 30 on the back nine at Augusta National on Sunday. Part of the compelling nature of the U.S. Open is that no one can shoot 30 on the back nine on Sunday.

Everyone knew going into the final round that it would be a day in which most players operated in full reverse. In fact, only Robert Allenby did not lose strokes on the day, being the only player to match par. But on the whole, the winner -- Goosen -- played 72 holes in 4-under-par 276 while Mickelson finished second at 278. There is nothing out of whack with those scores. Yes, Sunday became a day in which the winner was the person who made the most one-putt pars. But what is wrong with that? For one week, for one tournament it's fun to see pars instead of birdies. Clearly, however, it is not fun to play.

"I think they lost control of the golf course," Tiger Woods said after he limped home with a final-round 76. "It's terrible for our national championship."

Even Goosen was critical, saying of the greens: "I hope they get them back alive again."

And Mickelson, whose chances evaporated with a three-putt from eight feet on the 17th green, said: "I played some of the best golf of my life and I still couldn't shoot par, so you tell me [if the course was fair.]"

What John Philp would tell Woods, Goosen and Mickelson is that the course setup would be unfair if conditions were not the same for all of the players, or if the setup demanded forced carries that favored long hitters over the average hitters. Everyone played the same golf course at Shinnecock and the only players who had a particular advantage were those with the most patience.

Goosen is on such an even keel opponents are tempted at times to take his pulse and see if he is still with them. And Mickelson truly proved at Shinnecock that his victory at the Masters was not a fluke and that he is a transformed player who now has the discipline to win under any conditions.

The raw statistics for Sunday's final round paint a scary picture. The course played to a stroke average of 78.7 -- nearly nine strokes over par. No green on a non par-5 hole was hit in regulation by more than 47 percent of the field. Two of the par-3 holes -- Nos. 2 and 7 -- were hit in regulation by less than 20 percent of the players on Sunday. Six fairways were hit off the tee by fewer than 40 percent of the players.

Without a doubt, those are extremely demanding conditions. But the fact is, when push came to shove this U.S. Open was won by a former U.S. Open champion and the runner-up is the defending Masters champion. No fluke there. Two deserving players grabbed the top two spots.

One of the other points John Philp made back in 1999 was that players are too hung up on the notion of par. "It is an arbitrary number," he said. "If it takes 290 to win the tournament, shoot 290. What difference does it make where it stands in relationship to par?" Granted, a demolition derby like the U.S. Open would not be fun to watch every week. But it is fun to watch one week a year.

Players are bigger and stronger, courses are better conditioned and equipment just keeps improving. Week in and week out, PGA Tour players are used to overpowering the courses they play. Perhaps that is why it is such a shock for them when they get a layout calibrated to such demanding specifications. Was Shinnecock unfair? Some holes, most notably the seventh green, certainly flirted with silliness. But the simple fact is that everyone was playing the same golf course. At a certain point you just have to suck it up and play.

In what was perhaps John Philp's most honest -- and concise -- defense for the set up at Carnoustie in '99 he said: "The players have titanium and psychologists. All I have is nature."

Truer words were never spoken. Was Shinnecock over the line? Well, it identified a talented and deserving champion who outlasted an equally talented and just as deserving runner-up. It seems like that speaks for itself.
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I have mixed emotions about the topic of this thread. I don't like seeing these guys shoot 20 under par on an immacuately groomed course, but I did think the setup of the course was a little out of hand. I think 3yards hit most of it on the head.

What confused me moreso was the comments on PTI as to whether Mickelson choked or Goosen beat him. I couldn't even believe the insinuation that he choked. Aside from the double bogey on an impossible No. 7 on Saturday and the double on 17 on Sunday, I thought he more than proved his mettle. Both greens were next to impossible to play. Goosen played absolutely as close to perfect as possible on Sunday. PTI should have listened to the interview with Mickelson after his round on Saturday. The tournament played out exactly as he predicted.
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