Suggestions for Chambers Bay: Fix greens, access if U.S. Open returns
We’re two days removed from the end of the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. The most disappointing thing is not being only one day removed. I wanted Dustin Johnson to make that 4-footer so we’d have an 18-hole playoff on Monday with Johnson and Jordan Spieth, two of the world’s best players.
If you’re a resident or a native of this area, you’re supposed to gush about the course and the tournament because you’re bursting with civic pride. And if you’re a golf purist, you’re supposed to rave about the links-style layout and all of its idiosyncrasies. You shouldn’t have quibbles about anything because you’re grateful the United States Golf Association awarded the 2015 U.S. Open to Chambers Bay and hope it will return in 2025. And in all references to golfers who complained about the greens, you call them whiners and say something about everyone having to deal with the same conditions, so shut up already.
But if I were a fan who attended this championship from Anywhere Else, USA, or covering it for 840 ESPN Baton Rouge, I would have had a few issues.
I would have agreed with fans who complained about sightlines at the course and inability to follow groups all the way around, from hole to hole. A buddy of mine who goes to the Boeing Classic every year sold his weekend tickets to the Open because of poor fan access and watched it on TV instead.
As for comments about the greens, I don’t want to side with them, but there were so many complaints from players that you have to listen to what they had to say. It wasn’t just from those who shot poorly; we heard from Rory McIlroy and Billy Horschel, who were on the first page of the leaderboard.
Then we have the golf purists who love links courses and Chambers Bay in particular, tipping their cap to the birthplace of the game in Scotland. The history, the heritage, all that stuff. OK, fine, but when I’m watching a typical British Open, I don’t remember seeing as many weird bounces and rolls like we saw at Chambers Bay.
No. 1 seemed especially ridiculous. J.B. Holmes hit a reasonably good-looking shot onto the green in the final round until it trickled and gained momentum, falling into one collection area and carrying into another.
At No. 7, Jason Day came up just a little bit short of the pin and wasn’t rewarded with an uphill putt for birdie. Nope, the ball spun backward, off the green and all the way into the brown fescue.
I love reachable par-4s, but the green at 12 is ridiculous with too many humps and bumps. It’s miniature golf on a championship course. On media day, we played No. 12 from 240 yards. I hit what I thought was a bad drive and somehow, through numerous random richochets and rolls, I had a 5-footer for eagle. Made no sense. (By the way, I missed the putt.)
If the U.S. Open returns in 2025, I hope they redo the greens with another strain of grass and expand fan access.