It’s one of golf’s infallible truths, if you’re a top player you get to criticise golf’s top venues. Nobody cares if guys like Ian Poulter aren’t happy, nobody listens when Bubba Watson whines, in fact we criticise him for it. It’s like you earn the right when you start dominating the game, Tiger used to do it and now Jordan. He’s like the spokesperson for the player’s union, their mouthpiece to funnel frustration.
“I really think it’s a bit of a shame they dumped all this sand into the bunkers,” he said. ”I don’t think it was necessary.” added the adept media handler.
“When I played it six weeks ago, there was very compact sand, and that meant that if the ball trickled into the sand, it wasn’t a bad shot,”“Just barely went into the sand, you could hit the green no problem (if) you hit a good, solid shot. They have dumped so much sand into these bunkers, and now it is so tough to get a clean strike on the ball.”
The world number two wasn’t being dramatic. A snapchat from Rickie Fowler disbanded any accusations of hyperbole. It’s safe to say the bunkers at Oakmont are a menace, but can you blame them? Fans have come to love the U.S. Open more and more because it’s a rare opportunity to see the world’s best suffer.
The Pittsburg-based venue have three jokers they can pull: thick rough, rapid greens and 210 bunkers. Sorry Jordan, but the fact the sand is deep is just tough titties, it’s their way of compensating for the absence of trees and water. You’re a phenomenal player, I doubt you’ll find the sand too frequently, and if you do, you’ll get up and down because you’re an animal.
Oakmont superintendent John Zimmers admitted his crew “loosened the sand up” during the week before the U.S. Open to get it more uniform for play because rain was in the forecast.
“We did some maintenance. We did a little bit of work on them,” Zimmers said. “And then yesterday, it was one of the windiest days I can remember here at Oakmont…So when we got out this morning, the tops of the sand was very, very dry.”
Apparently there were about 80 bunkers when Henry Fownes built the course in 1903. Legend has it that every time Fownes or his son, former U.S. Amateur champion William Fownes, saw someone hit over a bunker or some other favorable spot, they added a bunker.
“And by the time Fownes got done, there were over 300 bunkers,” said USGA’s executive director Mike Davis “I think it’s down to 210 bunkers now,” he added.
There is no doubt that Henry Fownes left a sadistic legacy. Some are critical about the nature of the beast, they say that “any five-year-old can design an impossible golf course,” what they miss is the fact we love to see the best players struggle.
These words by Phil Mickelson perfectly describe what they are dealing with: