Oh, boo hoo! The USGA makes the United States Open Golf Championship courses too hard. It’s no fun. We can’t make birdies by the bunches. They make us look foolish. We hit good shots and get bad breaks. The greens are too hard, the rough is too high. The fairways are not wide enough to land a 747 of them.
This is the lamentation from so many of those each year who get the snot kicked out of them by the United States Golf Association’s set up for the championship of this country. Hey! This just in folks. It’s not SUPPOSED to be easy. This isn’t the Acme Hardware Open where the winning score is 27-under par and the cut is at five-under. This isn’t some course where somebody hitting out of the rough can land a ball on the green and have it jack to a halt as though it landed on velcro. Instead of complaining, why don’t these whining pros follow the example of former PGA Tour star Bruce Lietzke, who almost always took that week off and went fishing? If it’s too hard for you, then don’t play… Ah, but there’s the rub. The prize is too alluring. Forget the money and the trophy. Winning the U.S. Open brings immortality with it.
Well immortality is not given out cheaply. The USGA wants the U.S. Open to identify the best player, to challenge the entire game of the world’s best players. To force these swing machines to be able to think their way around the course instead of just overpowering it the way Rory McIlroy destroyed Quail Hollow last month. They want the players to be able to take a body blow and get back up and overcome. Seldom does anyone win the U.S. Open with a score so far under par that the gophers are clapping. Tiger did it once. So did Rory, but those were anomalies where rain had softened the course and two extraordinary players were at the very top of their exceptional games.
Few are able to grasp that big trophy without first spilling some blood. People don’t necessarily win the U.S. Open as much as survive those four days. In the world of golf, this is the equivalent of Navy Seals training. It isn’t fun. It’s grueling. Leave the fun to the Waste Management Open. This tournament is about crowning a national champion. Now my colleague, Mr. Thomas “Shank” Gorman, is arguing that the USGA does not set up a fair test of golf. And he is absolutely correct.
It is not a fair test. It is an unfair test because golf, at the highest level, should be a test and as anyone who has ever played this infernal game understands all too well, the words “fair” and “golf” have never cohabitated well. And the last time I checked, the conditions are the same for everyone, so if it’s incredibly difficult for the number 100-ranked player in the world it’s also incredibly difficult for Lord McIlroy.
So I will pose this question to Mr. Gorman. If the U.S. Open is such an unfair test of golf, why do so many people sign up each year and try to qualify? Why do so many of the world’s top professionals tee it up each year? The U.S. Open is widely considered the most prestigious title one can win. There’s a reason why, when Rory’s life is over, that the first paragraph of his obituary will list the U.S. Open title(s) and nowhere will you read that he won the 2015 Wells Fargo.WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?