USGA admits U.S. Open course ‘too tough’ Saturday

The state of the Shinnecock Hills course has been a hot topic during this weekend’s U.S. Open, with Saturday seeing several top golfers remark on the conditions after struggling, especially during the later portion of play, at Southampton, N.Y.The United States Golf Association has taken it to heart, admitting that the course was too tough for Saturday’s third round and promising to slow it down for Sunday’s finale.”It was a tale of two golf courses, and no doubt, we would admit, well-executed shots were not only not regarded, but were punished,” said USGA chief executive Mike Davis, who is in charge of course setup. “We would say that it was a very tough test, and really too tough this afternoon.”You saw some really low scores this morning, but when it got so dry like this and the wind got up, it didn’t work. This golf course will get slowed down tonight.”Dustin Johnson, who entered Saturday with a four-stroke lead, shot a 7-over-par 77 and is still part of a four-way tie for first place at 3-over 213.”I didn’t feel like I played badly at all,” Johnson said. “Seven over, you know, usually is a terrible score, but, I mean, with the greens the way they got this afternoon … they were very, very difficult.”Also atop the leaderboard with Johnson are Daniel Berger, Tony Finau and defending champion Brooks Koepka. Berger and Finau each carded a 66 in the morning round after beginning Saturday tied for 45th and 11 shots off Johnson’s overnight four-stroke lead. They both finished their rounds before Johnson even teed off, as the course got tougher as the day went on and winds played a factor.Saturday’s scoring average of 75.33 was the highest for a third round in the U.S. Open since 2000 at Pebble Beach. Berger, Finau and Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand (68) were the only players to break par, and they all played in the morning wave. Rickie Fowler, who was ninth starting the day, shot an 84 on the afternoon, the worst score of the day, to drop into a tie for 61st.Zach Johnson, who shot a third-round 72, had some particularly strong words toward the handling of the course.”We’re not on the edge. I thought we could be on the edge, but we’ve surpassed it,” Johnson told Sky Sports. “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 county, is Shinnecock Hills. It’s as good as it gets.”Unfortunately, they’ve lost the golf course. I feel for the membership, because I know many of them. I feel for the spectators because they are seeing pure carnage — unless that’s what they want. And I feel for the USGA because I don’t think this was their intent.”

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