Southampton - The
US Golf Association was in damage control mode on Saturday, admitting they
botched the US Open course set-up but defending a decision not to
disqualify five-time major winner Phil Mickelson.
WATCH: Mickelson throws 'putting tantrum' at US Open
USGA chief executive Mike Davis admitted organisers' zeal to make the
US Open the "ultimate" test in golf backfired as higher than expected
winds dried out the sloping greens at Shinnecock Hills.
"We felt good about the set-up when we left this morning," Davis
said. "We felt that it would work well given the forecast we had. Now
that I'm sitting here, we would say that part of this test were simply
"We saw some examples late in the day where well executed shots were not only not being rewarded but in some cases penalized."
Davis said the worst spot was the 15th, where the hole location was too close to the edge of the green.
"It worked fine most of the day, but it didn't work fine later in the
day," Davis said of the pin position at par-four 15th, which was the
hardest hole on the course playing at an average of 4.6 shots.
"We simply got higher winds than we anticipated. The grass really
began to dry out. If you looked at it at the end, it was almost wilting
around there and it just didn't have enough grass to hold the ball up."
Former Masters champion Zach Johnson said flatly that the USGA had "lost" the course.
But Davis said steps would be taken to insure there was no repeat of
the 2004 US Open at Shinnecock, where the greens dried out over the
weekend to the extent that some were virtually unplayable.
"We must slow the course down tonight and we will," Davis said. "So that probably means more water applied."
John Bodenhamer, the USGA's managing director of championships and
governance, took on the thorny question of Mickelson's amazing swipe at
his moving ball on the 13th green.
The five-time major-winner was penalised two strokes under rule 14-5 that bars a player from "making a stroke at a moving ball".
After Mickelson admitted he was trying to "take advantage of the
rules" debate raged on social media as to whether he should be
disqualified under the rule stating a player "must not take an action
with the intent to influence the movement of a ball in play".
Bodenhamer insisted rule 14-5 was appropriate to the situation.
"It is not an intent-based rule," he said. "It is a fact-based rule. You operate under what actually happened."
Third round scores on Saturday in the 118th US Open Golf Championship at Shinnecock Hills (USA unless noted, par-70):
213 - Daniel Berger 76-71-66, Tony Finau 75-72-66, Brooks Koepka 75-66-72, Dustin Johnson 69-67-77
214 - Justin Rose (ENG) 71-70-73
215 - Henrik Stenson (SWE) 71-70-74
216 - Kiradech Aphibarnrat (THA) 76-72-68, Patrick Reed 73-72-71, Jim Furyk 73-71-72
217 - Brian Gay 73-74-70, Dylan Meyer 77-69-71, Tyrrell Hatton (ENG) 75-70-72, Branden Grace (RSA) 76-69-72, Ian Poulter (ENG) 69-72-76, Charley Hoffman 71-69-77
- Gary Woodland 79-69-70, Zach Johnson 73-73-72, Xander Schauffele
72-74-72, Bryson DeChambeau 76-69-73, Justin Thomas 74-70-74, Matthew
Fitzpatrick (ENG) 73-70-75
- Webb Simpson 76-71-72, Francesco Molinari (ITA) 75-72-72, Paul Casey
(ENG) 73-73-73, Ryan Fox (NZL) 73-72-74, Russell Knox (SCO) 73-71-75,
Russell Henley 69-73-77, Tommy Fleetwood (ENG) 75-66-78, Scott Piercy
220 - Brendan Steele 72-73-75, Rafa Cabrera Bello (ESP) 73-71-76, Charles Howell 71-72-77
- Jhonattan Vegas (VEN) 76-72-73, Brandt Snedeker 72-76-73, Steve
Stricker 73-75-73, Matt Parziale (USA) 74-73-74, Li Haotong (CHN)
79-68-74, Chris Naegel 73-73-75, Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 74-72-75, Pat Perez 73-71-77, Alex Noren (SWE) 72-72-77, Marc Leishman (AUS) 74-69-78
- Bill Haas 76-72-74, Matthieu Pavon (FRA) 71-77-74, Luis Gagne (CRC)
73-74-75, Peter Uihlein 75-72-75, Sam Burns 71-76-75, Patrick Cantlay
75-71-76, Brian Harman 74-70-78
223 - Dean Burmester (RSA) 75-73-75, Aaron Baddeley (AUS) 74-72-77, Will Grimmer 73-72-78, Jason Dufner 70-74-79
224 - Cameron Wilson 75-73-76, Hideki Matsuyama (JPN) 75-70-79, Jimmy Walker 75-70-79, Mickey DeMorat 72-72-80
225 - Kevin Chappell 75-72-78, Calum Hill (SCO) 75-69-81, Tyler Duncan 77-67-81
226 - Tim Wilkinson (NZL) 76-72-78, Ross Fisher (ENG) 76-71-79, Rickie Fowler 73-69-84
227 - Phil Mickelson 77-69-81, Patrick Rodgers 72-72-83
228 - An Byeong-hun (KOR) 71-76-81, Andrew Johnston 73-73-82