No matter how the 2015 U.S. Open went off, there were always going to be critics of this new venue, Chambers Bay. It was a complete departure from the typical U.S. Open course, and it was working with little margin for error trying to break into a rota full of American classics with decades of tradition and reverence.
But there have been some setup and conditioning problems all week, particularly with the fescue greens playing excessively bumpy and unpredictable. The players have danced around the edges of criticism and been largely diplomatic. There have been a few softened critical comments. The broadcasters at FOX have hardly had anything negative to say.
Well, Gary Player is a 79-year-old, nine-time major champion with no obligations to FOX or the USGA. And he's unhesitatingly candid.
I had seen some remarks earlier this week that Player thought the course was "one of the worst" he'd ever seen. So I had some idea what might be coming when he showed up on Golf Channel early Saturday morning. But I underestimated him.
After a cursory introduction and before he was even ASKED a question, Player went into an unsolicited monologue and napalmed the entire course. He tried to butter up the locals starting by saying he was standing in the most beautiful state in world, but then went in on everything around him. The rant, and that's an appropriate word here, included:
- "This has been the most unpleasant golf tournament I've seen in my life."
- "The man who designed this golf course must have had one leg shorter than the other."
- "It's actually a tragedy."
- "There have never been so many people that missed the cut that are so happy to go home."
- "This is not indigenous to American golf."
- A request to hook the broadcasters up to a lie detector to see what they really think.
- A riff on how no public golf course should be so punishing and irritating to play.
- The 7,900-yard layout being irresponsible for water usage.
And on and on -- it was fabulous TV and one of the great course destructions you'll ever hear.
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