Cricket has got so much coverage in the pages off the Rust this past week that I am grateful that the U.S. Open gets a mention.
There was much controversy in the build up about the quality of the course at Chambers Bay, Washington, Seattle. Mike Davies, the PGA chief executive, locked horns with Ian Poulter. I am in the critical camp. It’s one thing to set up a demanding course, quite another one that has bare bumpy greens that you would expect to see on the municipal at Boreham Wood rather than a Major. If your ball landed over the pin the speed and unpredictable green made a sinking putt virtually impossible. Even as good a putter as Brandt Snedeker three putted within 10 feet. Chambers Bay, the US PGA and of course the Open are links courses. Links golf on Britain is made difficult by changeable weather but in broiling sun the conditions here were at least unvarying. If a wind got up like St George’s Sandwich, the conditions and bad surface would render accurate golf and course manageemnt impossible .
Noone has conquered the course. I thought Jordan Spieth might but he finished on -4 with Jason Day who recovered after vertigo on the first day, and Dustin Johnson, my prediction of winner with his high long hitting and gritty Brandon Grace . In the Racing Post Jeremy Chapman and Steve Palmer gave a plethora of picks including Brandon Grace. Some like Ben Martin and Patrick Reed have slipped away whilst others like Brandt Snedeker and Phil Mickelson have yet to challenge. I thought I had backed Dustin Johnson a 35-1 some time ago course but this was for the PGA.
The best you can say for this course is that going into the final day with four leaders at least it has not created a procession for one golfer. But to see a perfectly judged chip rattle past the hole after 2 bounces and the finish 20 feet away justifies the trenchant criticism that the player of it Bubba Watson gave.