NY Sports Day
Joe McDonald

McDonald: The USGA Doesn’t Need To Apologize For A Very Compelling US Open

USGA/Chris Keane

The USGA took it’s share of criticism for the placement of the holes yesterday in Round 3. Sure they were tough, but they don’t need to apologize.

However, they did release a statement this morning.

“In preparation for today’s forecasted dry and windy conditions and to maintain a challenging yet fair U.S. Open test, we applied appropriate levels of water to all putting greens last night and this morning for turf health and firmness. Similar to the preparation we took for round 1, green speeds will be, on average, 10-12 inches slower than rounds 2 and 3. We also adjusted some hole locations in a manner similar to what we did in Round 1, reviewing our initial selections and comparing them against our weather forecast and other agronomic data.”

Okay, great and fixing the holes will make it somewhat easier for the players, but so what? Put it to you simply, the US Open is supposed to be hard. Seeing the players struggle in these conditions is park of what makes the tournament compelling.

And it makes it anybody’s game, which also makes today’s final round a must watch.

Anyone who has played golf has gotten frustrated on the course. Pulling something like Phil Mickelson did yesterday has gone through almost anyone’s mind one time or another.

There are day’s the course kicks your butt. Shinnecock is designed to do that to the best players in the world.

Last year at Erin Hills, the USGA made it too easy. Brooks Koepka win with a 16-under. No one wants to see that. It makes for a boring tournament and frankly something not very compelling.

So they went back to work to some up with something that was tough, but fair. Unfortunately, the winds off Hampton Bay became worse than expected and the greens were faster than anyone expected.

Again, so what. These are professionals, who are playing for prize money. This tournament is not every week, but once a year. Plus, it’s a major.

Frankly, golf needs this. Golf needs the crucible where you can see the best fail with like the rest of us and ultimately have a golf version of survivor.

Remember, every player if playing the same course. So frankly, Shinnecock is as fair as it can be.

By the end of the day today, whomever holds the trophy would have earned it.

And for those of us watching have enjoyed a very compelling US Open that makes you want to tune in again.


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