The USGA is sorry.
Shinnecock Hills Golf Club savaged the U.S. Open field Saturday and body-slammed Phil Mickelson on his 48th birthday in the process. And the USGA admitted the course conditions were under par for the grandeur of a national championship.
Four players – Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Tony Finau and Daniel Berger – are tied for the lead at +3 entering the final round. When Saturday’s carnage finally ceased, only three players shot under par on the day – co-leaders Daniel Berger and Tony Finau (66) and Kiradech Aphibarnrat (68.)
“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 Mike Davis, USGA executive director.
“We would say that it was a very tough test, and really too tough this afternoon … It got too tough today in some areas. If we got a mulligan, we would have slowed the greens down this afternoon. Confident we can slow the golf course down going into tomorrow,” he added.
Davis vowed the course will be slower Sunday.
“You saw some low scores this morning; those hole locations actually work,” Davis said. “Having said that, this golf course will get slowed down tonight. There will be water applied to it.”
The USGA realizes what is at stake and began watering down parts of the course while play was still underway Saturday.
“The message was loud and clear to the grounds staff and to our team that handles the agronomy, let’s slow the course down. Because we really do believe we’re going to have a great Father’s Day Sunday final.”