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US Open (golf)

'Chambers Bay one of the worst golf courses I’ve ever seen’ - Gary Player slams US Open venue

South African great pulls no punches as players - and fans - struggle to master the terrain

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 June, 2015, 8:26am
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 June, 2015, 10:37am

Gary Player has blasted the USGA for bringing the US Open to the quirky links-style Chambers Bay course, saying many of the players are happy to shake the sand off their shoes and head home after missing the cut.

This has been the most unpleasant golf tournament I’ve seen in my life. I mean the man who designed this golf course had to have one leg shorter than the other
Gary Player

The South African great pulled no punches in an interview with the Golf Channel as the nine-time major winner described Chambers Bay at University Place in Washington as “one of the worst golf courses I’ve ever seen”.

“I’ll tell you what – there have never been so many people to miss the cut that are so happy to go home,” said the former US Open champion who now works as a golf course designer and consultant.

“This has been the most unpleasant golf tournament I’ve seen in my life. I mean the man who designed this golf course had to have one leg shorter than the other.”

Player said the Chambers Bay course, carved out of a hill overlooking the scenic Puget Sound, has too many gimmicky greens, dramatic elevation changes and slippery fescue slopes that have taken its toll on the caddies and spectators.

“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,” he said.

“You go to Augusta, they’ve got undulating greens, but they’re playable. Did you see how these pros were three-putting yesterday one after the other?

“It’s unbelievable seeing a man have a putt from 20 feet and he’s hitting it 20 feet to the right.”

Player isn’t alone in his criticism. Some of the PGA Tour pros have been speaking out as well this week.

Reigning Masters champion Jordan Spieth, called the 18th “the dumbest hole” he’s ever played and his co-leader Patrick Reed likened the pin placement on the hole to “Mickey Mouse golf”.

Another, Henrik Stenson, compared the greens to putting on “broccoli”.

Rory McIlroy added, with a smile: “I don’t think they’re as green as broccoli, I think they’re more like cauliflower. They are what they are, everyone has to putt on them. It’s all mental.

“Some guys embrace it more than others, and that’s really the way it is. It is disappointing that they’re not in a bit better shape but the newer greens, like seven and 13, they’re perfect.”

Then there are others like Phil Mickelson who are more diplomatic, saying they like the course.

Player also slammed FOX television, which is broadcasting the event on TV for the first time, for not being more honest and forthright about the conditions facing the US Open golfers.

“I would really love .... if we could take the announcers that are announcing on this tournament and give them a lie detector and see if they’re telling the truth on television. I’d love to see that,” he said.

Caddies aren’t the only casualties of the rough terrain at Chambers Bay as a number of spectators have also been treated for ankle injuries.

The USGA said it had received a number of complaints from golf fans about a lack of course access and so are going to open up additional crossing spots and viewing areas for fans who prefer to walk the course as part of a gallery.