USGA admits fault for Saturday’s US Open ‘carnage’

The USGA admitted it was at fault on Saturday, with several players blasting the US Open course set up at Shinnecock Hills following a day described as ‘pure carnage’.

Overnight leader Dustin Johnson saw his four-shot lead disappear after firing a seven-over par 77, saying later that “I don’t feel like I played bad,” while many other players struggled on the lightning fast greens that saw good shots turn into bad as they rolled way past the hole or off the green altogether.

That lead to heavy criticism from the players, who thought the combination of tough pin placements and super dry greens had made life too difficult for them – a repeat of criticisms levelled at the association the last time the US Open was held at Shinnecock in 2004.

Zach Johnson, who finished tied for 16th place after a 72, said the USGA had “lost the golf course.”

“It’s pretty much gone, especially the latter part of the day for us. It’s pretty much shot. It’s really unfortunate, because in my opinion, some of the best land and certainly one of the best venues in all of golf, especially in this country, is Shinnecock Hills.”

“Unfortunately, they’ve lost the golf course…. I feel for the spectators because they are seeing pure carnage.”

2013 US Open champion Justin Rose, one shot off the lead at four-over par after a 73, also accused the USGA of going too far. “I feel like it was on the line, and I think some of the pin placements were over the line.”

Rafa Cabrera Bello called it “not a fair test of golf” after he finished his 76 with a triple bogey.

Responding to the criticism, USGA chief Mike Davis admitted that the weather conditions had made it hard: “We will admit there were some aspects of the set-up where we went too far, in that well-executed shots were not rewarded and in some cases penalised.”

“It got too tough in some areas. If we got a mulligan, we would have slowed the greens down this afternoon. We are confident we can slow the golf course down going into Sunday.”

That wasn’t enough for the likes of Ian Poulter.