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USGA: Losing Trust Within Golf Community?

USGA CEO Mike Davis under fire for course setup/conditions during the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills

 

After the Saturday disaster, the USGA responded by going with a safe and practical course setup for the final round. Which is understandable considering they couldn't risk making another mistake.

Many players took advantage of the setup, such as Rickie Fowler and Patrick Rodgers. Who in comparison from stroke differential from the third round to the final round, each improved by 19 and 16 strokes respectively. The previous record for stroke differential from consecutive rounds during the major was 16 shots.  

In the history of the U.S. Open, only 4 players including Rodgers, had tied that differential. With Fowler then beating this record later in the day, 2 out of 5 times this has ever happened in the history of the U.S. Open, coincidentally happened this week. Which had Brandel Chamblee sounding off on Golf Channel following the championship. 

Englishman Tommy Fleetwood posted an impressive 63 for the final round on Sunday at Shinnecock.  Fleetwood started off the day six shots off of the lead, and ended as the lone runner-up in second place for the major. 

At the 18th, Fleetwood gave himself an opportunity to break the course record at Shinnecock with a score of 62. He left himself an 8 foot 8 inch putt that I'm sure will haunt him for the time being, as he barely misread the putt that would have not only given him the course record, but put him in a tie for first with Koepka.   

Something to note is that Fleetwood had a stroke differential of 15 as he posted a 78 the third round during Saturday's fiasco. Clearly showing the USGA missed something from that Saturday round.

I'm sure the USGA will look to bounce back next year for the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. The past two U.S. Open winners at Pebble beach were Graeme McDowell (2010) and Tiger Woods (2000). 

To the USGA's credit, I get that after coming off as "too easy" last year at Erin Hills, their intention was to go back to true U.S. Open roots as "golf's ultimate test." 

However, not accounting for the wind that came Saturday was a big blunder that ultimately handed the field an easier course setup for the final round than you would typically expect for a U.S. Open. In return, low scores were put up and critics had the Twitter fingers going immediately to point the finger at the USGA once again mishandling Shinnecock.        

Not to take away anything from the champion, Brooks Koepka, but it almost seemed as if the course was more of the story this past week than the players.  


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