Sport Golf

Monday 22 May 2017

Golf legend Gary Player blasts US Open as the "most unpleasant" tournament he has seen

Tiger Woods hits out of the tall fescue grass on the eighth hole at Chambers Bay yesterday
Tiger Woods hits out of the tall fescue grass on the eighth hole at Chambers Bay yesterday

Nine-time major winner Gary Player has labelled this week's US Open the "most unpleasant" tournament he has seen.

The course at Chambers Bay has come in for heavy criticism in some quarters, with halfway joint leader Jordan Spieth calling the 18th "a dumb hole" when played as a par four and Henrik Stenson comparing the greens to "putting on broccoli".

And on the 50th anniversary of his sole US Open victory at Bellerive, Player laid the blame at the door of course designer Robert Trent Jones Jr.

"We're playing the US Open, this great championship... but this has been the most unpleasant golf tournament I've seen in my life," Player, 79, told Golf Channel. "The man who designed this golf course had to have one leg shorter than the other.

"It is hard to believe that a man can miss the green by one yard and the ball ends up 50 yards down in the rough. This is a public course where we are trying to encourage people to come and play and get more playing the game. They are having a putt from 20 feet and they are allowing 20 feet right and 20 feet left.

"You don't bring the US Open to golf courses like this. This is devastating. To see a man miss the green by one yard and end up 50 yards down there, caddies falling and hurting their ankles and knees, players falling ... this is terrible.

"It's actually a tragedy - 7,900 yards long. An average golfer playing this course, a 15 or 16 handicap, he is going to shoot 110 and not go home a very happy man.

"We have to make golf quicker and more enjoyable. We are going about it the wrong way. They are building these crazy courses as a defence against the ball going too far. We have to cut the ball back.

"You have got to give the architect the blame. It's impossible to play these golf courses. Did you see how these pros were three putting one after the other? Sergio (Garcia) three-putted the 18th to make the cut.

"I tell you, there have never been so many people to miss the cut that are so happy to go home."

In response, Jay Blasi - one of the design team behind Chambers Bay - wrote on Twitter: "Greatly respect @garyplayer and agree with many of his goals for golf but he is uninformed as it relates to @ChambersBayGolf #studyfirst."

Chambers Bay played to 7,695 yards in the second round, making it the longest course in US Open history. The previous longest was 7,643 yards at Torrey Pines in 2008.

The front nine on Friday measured 4,020 yards, another record, but 16 players were under par after 36 holes, the most since 2011 at Congressional.

One of those under par was Australian Jason Day, who collapsed on the final hole of his second round due to an attack of vertigo.

Day was attended to by paramedics and eventually managed to complete the hole, his agent later revealing the world number 10 was diagnosed as suffering from Benign Positional Vertigo but, according to the PGA Tour website, "wants to play" in Saturday's third round.

The 27-year-old was due to start his third round at 1355 local time (2155 BST) alongside American Kevin Kisner, and at two under par was just three behind Spieth and Patrick Reed.

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