Horschel: 'Lost respect for the USGA this week'

By Will GrayJune 21, 2015, 10:31 pm

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – After closing out his U.S. Open, Billy Horschel stepped to the microphone in the interview area and flashed a wry smile.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment all week,” he said.

Plenty of players have criticized Chambers Bay and its setup this week, but none were as demonstrative in the middle of their rounds as was Horschel on Sunday. While often the negative comments seem to come from those struggling on the scorecard, Horschel actually turned in one of the best early rounds on Sunday, reaching 5 under through 12 holes before settling for a 3-under 67.

That didn’t stop him from criticizing the greens and calling out the tournament organizers after the final bell.

“I’ve lost respect for the USGA this week,” Horschel said.

Horschel tends to wear his emotions on his sleeve, and that was certainly the case during the final round. After missing a short putt on No. 6, he feigned a tomahawk chop of his putter into the green, and on No. 9 he swerved his hand left and right to mimic the unpredictable route of his missed birdie attempt.

“I’ve hit a lot of really good putts that have bounced all over the world. So it’s just frustrating,” Horschel said. “I played awesome golf today. I played out of my tail, out of my ass to shoot 3 under par. And I really felt like I should have shot 6, 7 or 8 under, but I wasn’t able to do that due to the fact that some of the putts I hit just hit some really bad spots on the greens and got off line and didn’t go in.”

Horschel joined the chorus of players criticizing the green conditions this week, noting that it was a “complete lie” that the putting surfaces simply looked worse on television than they actually performed. But he also harped on the fan experience, with the Pacific Northwest hosting a major championship for the first time since the 1998 PGA Championship at nearby Sahalee.

Chambers Bay offers a difficult hike for players and spectators alike, and most fans this week have been shepherded to grandstands atop dunes from which multiple holes can be seen. Following a single group for multiple holes from outside the ropes is a near impossibility, and fans are unable to access most of the par-5 eighth hole.

“When you’re not able to get up close and watch championship-caliber players play a golf course, it’s disappointing,” he said. “I feel like the fans got robbed this week being able to get up close to the players and see the shots we hit and see the course to the degree that we see it.”

He added: “For the architect…to say they built this golf course for the U.S. Open is awful. And I heard today that (USGA executive director) Mike Davis had input in this golf course, which makes it even – blows my mind even more that they would build a golf course and not think about the fans and the viewing aspect of it.”

Horschel believes the U.S. Open could someday return to Chambers Bay if the greens improve, but he implored Davis and others to heed the flood of criticism coming from the field.

“It’s a frustrating week for a lot of players,” he said. “We don’t complain a lot. You guys think, people out there think we complain a lot as players, but we don’t. And when we do, I think we really need to be taken seriously on this.”

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Fleetwood, with his fancy umbrella, fires 65 on Day 2

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 12:34 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tommy Fleetwood looked like an Open rookie when he set out on Friday under gray skies and a cold, steady rain.

Because the Englishman doesn’t have an equipment sponsor he made a quick turn through the merchandise tent for an umbrella – but at least he didn’t have to pay for it.

“We stole it,” he laughed when asked about his Open-brand umbrella. “We got one given for free, actually. We didn't steal it. We don't always carry an umbrella. So it just so happens this week that we've got a nice Open Championship [umbrella]. It looked quite nice, the yellow and the course.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

It was Fleetwood’s only rookie move on Day 2 at Carnoustie, posting a flawless 65 to move into an early tie for second place at 5 under par.

Fleetwood holds the competitive course record at Carnoustie, a 9-under 63 he shot last fall during the European Tour’s Dunhill Links Championship, but given Friday’s conditions and the difficulty of this course during The Open, his 65 on Friday might have been better.

“It's not a course record, but it's pretty good,” said Fleetwood, who was stroke behind leader Zach Johnson. “If you went out, you wouldn't really fancy being 6 under out there. So I think that's a good indication of how good it was.”

It was a dramatic turnaround for Fleetwood on Friday. He said he struggled with his ball-striking, specifically his tee shots, on Day 1, but he was able to turn things around with an hour-long session on the range following his opening round.

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 10:15 am

Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.

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McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

Said Harmon:

“Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

“This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

“Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.

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How The Open cut line is determined

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:57 am

Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.

The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

• After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.

• There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.

• There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.

The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.