So I guess a simple apology was out of the question.
USGA Executive Director Mike Davis had a chance to win over some critics on Monday, by simply owning up to the fact that Chamber Pot’s greens were simply, and unequivocally “un-acceptable” for the national championship.
He did not.
Instead, he basically called you and me and every golf fan with eyes stupid, and the players who had to make putts on those poa/fescue/dirt mutant surfaces babies, or liars. Your choice.
He spoke to Paul Ramsdell of the Seattle Times, and came up at least 3 clubs short of an “I’m sorry…”
“In some ways, they weren’t as good as we would have hoped,” Davis said of the greens, “but some people would make it out that they’re putting on broccoli. I completely disagree with that assessment. That’s an unfair assessment to say they were that bad because we have had bad greens before that were bumpier than these; we just have.”
During the final round, Davis walks with the last groups, acting as a rules official.
“I was right there. I was watching like a hawk. You just didn’t see much bounce to (the greens), you really didn’t,” Davis said.
The players disagreed, repeatedly voicing their displeasure to the media.
“Having done a lot of these things (conducting Opens), I look at it and say, ‘Yes, we had bumpy greens,’ ” he said. “But at the end of it, we’ve had bumpy greens many, many, many times at the U.S. Open. We’ve played this event 115 times, and the vast majority of them have been on poa annua greens. Later in the day, there’s a bounce to them. If you have ever looked at that famous putt Tiger Woods made at Torrey Pines on the 72nd hole, that ball was in the air 30 times.”
No, Mike. It wasn’t. The first thing you notice about Tiger’s putt, is that the putting surfaces were…
b. Acceptably uniform
c. Not brown
Of course ANY putt of a decent length when filmed in super-slow-mo is going to show hops and wobbles. You’ll notice Tiger’s ball rolls true, with no yaw or wiggle. Besides, if the Torrey Pines greens were as bumpy as Chambers Bay, believe me, you would have heard about it!
But hey, why argue with a guy who says with a straight face that he “watched like a hawk?” A golf nerd-o-crat who won’t take ownership of a massive mistake (both venue and surfaces) thinks the best players in the world were somehow not up to his hawk-like vision while actually TRYING to make putts.
What a dick.
And one last thing: stop walking with the final groups, Mike. It’s embarrassing. You don’t see Adam Silver sitting courtside at every game of the NBA Finals. You don’t see Roger Goodell roaming the sidelines at the Super Bowl. Assign a rules official you think has earned it, and just melt away.
I mean, who WOULDN’T want to be a headcover-sniffing, inside-the-ropes freeloader to the best golfers on the planet on the biggest stage? It doesn’t mean you should. Act like an executive, not a fanboy. Or better yet, stand in line for 2 hours to get a seat in those wonderful grandstands, then wait for 6 hours until the marquee groups finally pass within binocular shot of your sore ass on aluminum.
Davis’ comments are indefensible. Maybe he couldn’t see the wiggles from where he was standing, but in this age of hi-def tv, all of the viewing public could damn sure see it. Condition of the greens was the worst I’ve seen in the 40+ years I’ve been watching. While there was nothing wrong with the rest of the course as far as playability – other than a matter of style/taste – the galleries possibly got it worse than the players. And to think they built it with an Open in mind ….. that’s just astonishing. USGA gets a D on this project.
“…..We are POUNDING them….”
Again, it’s golf. Nobody cares.
I was out of town so forgive the belated “I’m so done with”, but ISDW “everybody has to play the same course.” Oh really, well next year the tournament can be on I-95 during rush hour but hey, everybody has to play the same course. One of the issues that never really came up was how the banged up greens might impact the putting stroke of the pros. When the axiom of your profession is, “Drive for show, putt for dough,” the last thing you needs are hosed up greens throwing off your putting stroke for the next three tournaments.