The ongoing 2015 U.S. Open Feud between Gary Player and Robert Trent Jones Jr.

Trevor Woods

At 81 years of age, one would think golf legend Gary Player would be riding off into the sunset, relaxing, and not be verbally exchanging punches with another in the golf world.

But that’s not how Player rolls, he is a man that has always been one to defend his name and opinions. This time his foe is golf course designer, 77 year old Robert Trent Jones Jr.

Player and Jones Jr. have not been getting along since the 2015 US Open, in which Jones Jr. designed the Chambers Bay course. Player called it one of the worst he’s ever seen and basically unplayable, while also saying whoever designed the course must have one leg shorter than the other. Even Jones Jr. has admitted the course had negative aspects to its greens, but has also been adamant in defending his design.

The Chambers Bay course received harsh criticism from Dustin Johnson and others on tour, with Johnson faulting the course in finishing second after missing a very short putt on the final hole. Anyone who watched this tournament undoubtedly remembers golfers narrowly missing the green and a ball rolling a significant and abnormal yardage amount away.

Enter June 2017, where Trent Jones Jr. decided to keep the bickering going in an interview with Golf Digest.

“I think Gary Player, as we all know him, is kind of a showboater. For whatever reason he chose to make those comments.”

That didn’t sit well with Player, nor did the other events Jones Jr. claimed happened in the article.

Player took to Twitter and released a statement. Player was pointed in his language, both about the 2015 US Open, and the statements Jones Jr. made, which he calls blatant lies.

After Player released the statement, Jones Jr. ended up releasing one of his own saying he thought his comments were off the record. Be that as it may, they were not, and what difference would it make if he was telling the truth. In this game of he said-he said between two old men, it’s hard not to take Player’s side in the matter.

Reasons To Take Player’s Side

  • Golfers who played this course were unhappy with the conditions and design. When Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, and other top pros voice displeasure there may be a good gripe to be had.
  • Two year after and bringing up the feud again is silly on Jones Jr’s part. He thought it was off the record, but why would he think that when someone from a golf publication is calling him? Further, he called him a showboat, which shows what he really thinks of Player behind closed doors.
  • Player called Jones Jr’s comments blatant lies. In Jones statement after he didn’t respond directly to Player calling him a liar, thus never denying he was lying. In my opinion, that is fishy and sound like someone who was caught in a lie.
  • Player is one of the best golfers of the past century, Jones would have been better served to bite his tongue two years ago and certainly now. When you are in the category of greats like Nicklaus and Woods, I believe a certain amount of leeway should be granted.

This is likely the last we’ll hear of this feud, unless they get into fisticuffs someday in person. A couple things are clear from my gathering of information… these men do not like each other, and Chambers Bay could have been designed a lot better than it was. In the court of public opinion and me residing as judge, I grant Gary Player a high five and I am on his side of this debate.

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