Gary Player was asked a simple question this morning on Golf Channel’s Morning Drive: “Good morning, Mr. Player, how are you?” What followed included a six-minute diatribe by the former nine-time major championship winner, harping on Chambers Bay and its architect, Robert Trent Jones Jr.
“I am standing at the most beautiful state in the world,” said Player. “[But] this has been the most unpleasant golf tournament that I’ve seen in my life.”
Player touched upon the massive amount of water the course requires, it’s incredible length and unfair greens. The conversation then transformed into an epic oration on the state of the game and it’s dubious future.
“We’re going about it in the wrong way,” said Player. “The golf balls, and this is happening, why they’re building these crazy golf course is because it’s in defense of the ball going too far. We’re making golf courses longer and longer. More expenses, more water, more fertilizer, more labor.
“They’re taking a beautiful golf course, making undulating greens, bunkers in front of the greens, and the folks are resigning from golf in numbers as far as amateurs are concern [that] are down. We don’t want to see that. We love the game. We’ve got to promote it in the right way.”
Other excerpts from the interview via GolfChannel.com:
• “We’re playing the U.S. Open, this great championship, a group of people, the USGA, that I have great respect for, but this has been the most unpleasant golf tournament I’ve seen in my life. I mean the man who designed this golf course had to have one leg shorter than the other.”
• “I understand [why the USGA came here to a public course]. What they did at Bethpage was tremendous. … But you don’t bring [the U.S. Open] to golf courses like this. This is devastating. To see a man miss the green by one yard and end up 50 yards down there, caddies falling and hurting their ankles and knees, players falling … This is terrible.”
• “You go to Augusta, they’ve got undulating greens, but they’re playable. … These greeens are virtually – did you see how these pros were three-putting yesterday one after the other? … It’s unbelievable seeing a man have a putt from 20 feet and he’s hitting it 20 feet to the right.”
• “I’ll tell you what – there have never been so many people to miss the cut that are so happy to go home. I’d really love – it’d be a wonderful thing – if we could take the announcers that are announcing on this tournament and give them a lie detector and see if they’re telling the truth on television. I’d love to see that.”
Yikes. It’s unknown whether Player has actually walked the course in its entirety, but he certainly doesn’t like what he’s seen on the telecast. Many players have voiced their own concerns, but they don’t seem to have a problem with the actual layout; instead, the main issue has been with the fescue greens that are mixed with some poa annua.