Player joins Chambers Bay critics

Published: Sunday 21st June 2015 by The News Editor

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Nine-time major winner Gary Player labelled this week’s US Open the “most unpleasant” tournament he has ever seen as criticism of Chambers Bay intensified on Saturday.

Masters champion and halfway joint leader Jordan Spieth called the 18th “unbelievably stupid” when played as a par four and Henrik Stenson compared the greens to “putting on broccoli” – a point he illustrated in typical fashion with a picture on Twitter suggesting he was having broccoli for lunch.

World number one Rory McIlroy joked the putting surfaces were not green enough to be broccoli – “They are more like cauliflower” – and said he was delighted to have already secured one US Open title.

” Every year the US Open is very frustrating, apart from 2011,” said McIlroy, who won by eight shots at Congressional four years ago. “I came off the green on the last there and I said to JP (Fitzgerald, his caddie), ‘Thank God I’ve got one of these’.

“I’m glad my name is on the trophy at least once and I’ll try to make it twice at some point.”

Ryder Cup team-mate L ee Westwood said most players were “too afraid” to say what they thought about the course in public, but on the 50th anniversary of his sole US Open victory at Bellerive, Player was not so reticent and 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.

“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.”

Westwood, who carded a triple-bogey seven on the 18th on Friday, said his main criticism was the altering of par on the first and 18th, adding on Sky Sports 4: “I don’t see the reason for jiggling it around. This is the first time I have ever known them change par fours into par fives.

“The 18th is a great par five and the first is a great par four, so today’s set-up is how the golf course should be played.

“Most players are too afraid to say what they think. We are living in a PC (politically correct) world and you can’t possess an opinion, but if you put a camera in the locker room you would hear a few things you are not hearing in public.”

Speaking after a third round of 69, Ian Poulter added: “Y ou can’t say what you would really like to say because there’s just no benefit in that. It’s hard to express yourself.”

Published: Sunday 21st June 2015 by The News Editor

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