Ian Poulter. Don't believe the smile, he's not happy right now. (Getty Images)On Saturday at the Barclays, Bethpage Black's sun-baked greens were about as smooth and welcoming as your average Wal-Mart parking lot, and the players' scores showed it. The average player putted more than 30 times in his round, and three-putts were the norm. The players groused about it, no one getting more demonstrative than Ian Poulter.
Shortly after finishing a nasty round of 76 that left him tied for 53rd, Poulter took to his chosen medium, Twitter, and fired off a beauty of a tweet: "The worst course setup I have ever played in 13 years on tour. They have ruined what is a great course, greens like concrete [and] stupid pins [setups]."
Interviewed afterward as he was headed to his car, Poulter didn't relent a bit. As transcribed by Golf Channel's Jason Sobel, Poulter vented: "I've got to tell you, they [screwed] up today," he said. "Royally [screwed] up. Look at how many guys have had a bad day, and there's a lot of guys that had a bad day. You know, [hole] eight, especially, is the worst I've ever seen on tour. Eight was worse than Shinnecock. How about that? How about that for a statement? They have lost it.
"There's supposed to be cloud cover, there wasn't cloud cover. I don't want to use that as an excuse. Fact is, the greens have barely got double-digit moisture in them. That is borderline unplayable on a golf course that simply plays as the longest course on tour, pretty much. Right? Par 71. It's the longest 71 we play. So therefore you're going in with even more club than any other course we play. Elevated greens. Rock hard. That is an absolute recipe for disaster. You can quote me on all that stuff."
Not everyone played terribly; Sergio Garcia, for instance, shot a 69 to lead by two, and Kevin Stadler, Brandt Snedeker, Phil Mickelson and others shot in the 60s. It's worth noting, however, that many of the better players pulled a British Open by getting the relatively favorable early tee time, before the greens had a chance to really crisp over.
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