This year’s US Open from Chambers Bay, was a Challenge for all involved…and I mean all involved. After watching the Open for three days I have several takeaways from what I would consider a Successful failure.
The Good, the course was picturesque, even though Fox could not figure out how to show you how beautiful that area really was. Yes, the USGA picked a course that was a bit quirky with regards to its greens. I am not saying Chambers Bay was a bad choice at all, actually I loved watching the players try to navigate such a difficult course. There were actually lots of similarities from this course and many that we see during the British Open. Is that such a bad thing? I don’t think so. The fact that every green had its own pace because of the grass make up, is not one of it’s better qualities. But if you look at scores at the US Open year after year, the scores here were not that much different. There were a few holes that really penalized you, regardless how well you hit it, and although that might not be what you want to see I was once again okay with it.
Regardless how frustrated the players were, they figured out how to conquer the course. The fact that Dustin Johnson lost again when he had an opportunity to win, is more a product of him than it was the course. Justin Spieth, whined about several of the holes this week, but in the end was the winner. I am not ashamed to say I was rooting for him even though he did complain as much as he did. I wish the players and former players as a whole, would have dialed that back a bit. Most players that participated this week had no real prior knowledge of the course, which can lead to the overall players opinion of the course. As a golfer, regardless how much you like a place or don’t like a course, the first times you play it can be a struggle. I think that is what we saw this weekend.
The Bad to me came together in one word, FOX. Their coverage of this tournament was just awful. Much worse than anything we saw on the course, was how the course was shown, and the inability of the Fox Hosts to cover Golf for what was their first time, was more than evident. The Absolute Failure of FOX not to go out and get some people that have covered golf before was a colossal mistake. Joe Buck and Curt Menefee were as bad as you could get in their coverage. Menefee was the cornerstone of the pre and post match and his lack of knowledge was glaring if not stunning. Brad Faxon and Greg Norman are much smarter guys, and much more well spoken then they were given the opportunity to show. And what was one of the most uncomfortable moments of the day or night was a post game volley that Menefee sent to Norman. When asking Greg Norman about the collapse of Dustin Johnson, I think it dawned on Menefee half was through the question that he was about to ask a guy, that has had some real collapses in his playing career about a guys collapse. The exchange was clumsy and Greg was extremely uncomfortable with answering the question. Needless to say, it was a tough watch and if I am the heads of FOX Sports, I would re think their plan on who covers Golf and how they do it.
The Ugly was the overall whining about the Golf Course. I heard a Radio Host refer to the golfers as “Candy Asses”, and that is not altogether inaccurate in this situation. I was not impressed by the complaining though you normally have that when you consider only a handful of players were under par for the week. It would be different if the winner finished at 4 over. But that was not the case. Justin Spieth, The winner was 5 under and figured out how to manage the course. Spieth referred to a hole on the course as “Dumb”. Gary Player said it looked like the “Worst Course Ever”, and a “tragedy”. He was not even on it playing. Camillo Villegas came out and said he was happy to be done and it was a shame to have to play a US Open on what was the worst Greens he has every played. Luke Donald said he hoped this was not going to go into a playoff as he did not think the greens would hold up to another 18. He went as far as suggesting that a playoff should be played at another course.
I have not heard such belly aching in my life. What a complete and total joke. First off, most of the players that complained did not play well. Combine that with a course most players were unfamiliar with and top it off with a couple new and difficult twists to make this course more difficult. Those were the ingredients for a tough week on the course. The fact that these guys think they should play on pristine perfect courses in perfect conditions is enough to make me sick. I personally am not a fan of a tournament in which all the players shoot 15 under. That shows me the course is too easy, and not much of a test. This course clearly had its issues, but for the love of all things holy, go play golf and grow a set.