WATCH: Zach Johnson on the U.S. Open: ‘They’ve Lost the Golf Course’

US Open
The Associated Press

Scores among the pros at the U.S. Open are unusually high amid a growing chorus of accusations that the course has degraded into an unplayable condition.

Zach Johnson was explicit that the famed course at Shinnecock Hills in New York has fallen apart before their eyes. In an interview with Sky Sports, he said that the course isn’t on the edge of being playable, it’s already worse than that.

The two-time major champion, who ended the day with a 72, was asked where the course was for play and his assessment was stark, indeed.

“No, we’re not on the edge (of fairness and playability). I thought that we could be on the edge, but we’ve surpassed it,” Johnson replied dourly. “It’s pretty much gone, especially in the latter part of the day for us; it’s pretty much shot… unfortunately, they’ve lost the golf course.”

Johnson, who has been with the PGA since 2004, said he feels bad for everyone involved with the famed tournament, but in his opinion, they’ve let the high level of the course fall apart.

According to The Big Lead, scores are rising due to the rough conditions of the greens.

“While it may not be the belief of everyone, yet, that sentiment is starting to spread as pros struggle mightily on these greens, and no one on the leaderboard is under par for the tournament,” Michael Shamburger wrote. “The leader at the start of the round, Dustin Johnson, has made four bogies and a double on the front nine, dropping to one-over and relinquishing his lead to defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka, who was even par but has since dropped to one-over.”

Phil Mickelson was also clearly vexed by Shinnecock’s playability when on the 13th green his putt took on a mighty roll and instead of letting it come to a stop he stopped it with his putter, then picked it up and quit the hole. He was levied with a two-point penalty for his impatience and took a ten on the hole.

Michelson later exclaimed that he was tired of “going back and forth” and re-hitting the same putt, so decided to just stop the ball and take the penalty. “I decided to take the two-shot penalty and move on,” he said.

“I don’t mean disrespect by anybody,” Mickelson said at the clubhouse, “I know it’s a two-shot penalty and at that time I just didn’t feel like going back and forth and hitting the same shot over. I took the two-shot penalty and moved on. It’s my understanding of the rules, I’ve had multiple times where I wanted to do that, I just finally did.”

To those offended by his decision to quit the hole and just take the penalty, Mickelson later said, “toughen up.”

But, others have reported trouble on the greens, as well:

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

 

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