Zach Johnson on U.S. Open Saturday: 'They've lost the golf course'

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Johnson on U.S. Open Saturday: 'They've lost the golf course'

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Zach Johnson on U.S. Open Saturday: 'They've lost the golf course'

As Saturday afternoon has progressed and Shinnecock Hills has brutalized the players, murmurs have started about the golf course getting on the edge.

That chatter has to be especially frightening for the U.S. Golf Association after the setup debacle at Shinnecock in 2004.

Well, gulp, now it’s out in the open.

Zach Johnson, who fired a third-round 72 at the U.S. Open, was in a post-round interview with Sky Sports when he was asked if the course was on the edge in Round 3.

He gave a shockingly blunt response:

“No, we’re not on the edge. I thought we could be on the edge, but we’ve surpassed it,” Johnson said. “It’s pretty much gone, specifically in the latter part of the day for us, it’s pretty much shot, which is unfortunate.

“It’s in my opinion, some of the best land and certainly one of the best  venues in all of golf. … Unfortunately, they’ve lost the golf course.”

Wow.

Those are some fearless words, and respect to Johnson for putting that out there probably knowing in today’s world he could take heat for it. (Yes, it’s an honest opinion. But not everybody is so understanding.)

It’s certainly telling when Johnson says this in an interview, as he’s known to be about as mild-mannered as they come.

Johnson also expressed his sympathy for several parties involved at Shinnecock Hills with the way the course is playing.

“I feel for the membership right now because a lot of them are really good friends of mine,” Johnson said. “I feel for the spectators who are seeing absolute, pure carnage, unless they want to. … I feel for the USGA because I don’t think that was their overall intent from the very beginning.”

So Johnson isn’t coming after the USGA, per se, but he certainly isn’t absolving the organization of blame either – especially with the experience of 2004 here still so fresh.

“When it comes to things that have happened in the past, you’ve got to err on a conservative nature, conservative approach, and that wasn’t done today,” said Johnson, T-23 overall at 8 over.

This is some interesting and honest commentary. We’ll see if other players join him as they finish this afternoon.

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