While most spectators and even players seem to be enjoying the unique change of pace at the U.S. Open this weekend at Chambers Bay, one notable golf icon is not.
Gary Player, winner of nine major championships and one U.S. Open, ripped the host site of this year’s U.S. Open during an interview on Yahoo Sports’ Grandstanding podcast Friday, and again on ESPN Saturday.
“(Chambers Bay) is the worst golf course I might have ever seen in my 63 years as a professional golfer,” Player told ESPN.
Player was just getting started.
“This golf course here, if you’re a 10-handicap, you couldn’t break 100 to save your life,” he continued. “They’ve got pros putting from 20 feet and hitting the ball 20 feet to the right. A man missed the green by a yard and he’s 50 yards down in a valley. I don’t understand it.”
“You know how many divorces a golf course like this could possibly cause?” He quipped. “A man comes out here and plays; takes six hours. By the time he gets home, his wife hasn’t seen him all week. She’s got the needle. I feel sorry for him.”
On Friday, Player echoed similar sentiments, saying “it’s actually a tragedy” that Chambers Bay is hosting the U.S. Open.
“The man who designed this golf course must have had one leg shorter than the other,” he said Friday. “There have never been so many people that missed the cut that are happy to go home.”
John Ladenburg, the former Pierce County executive who oversaw the building of the course, offered a striking rebuttal to Player’s comments, tweeting on Saturday that he did not choose Player’s company when deciding who to team with for the building of Chambers Bay.
Player’s comments do not stand alone, as many have criticized the course and its greens in particular. Months before the tournament began Ian Poulter called Chambers Bay a “farce,” while just Thursday Sergio Garcia tweeted his distaste for the greens at Chambers Bay.
In contrast, other players, including five-time major winner Phil Mickelson, have praised the course.
“I thought it played terrific,” Mickelson said Thursday. “…there was nothing hokey or crazy with any pin positions or how it played.”
Like it or not, these players still have plenty of golf left at Chambers Bay.