Tiger Woods teed off on the greens at Pebble Beach last weekend, and he caught some grief from the USGA for what it perceived as unfair criticism. But as it turns out, Woods wasn't the only one dissatisfied with the state of Pebble Beach.
Ryan Moore may not have the cachet of Woods — really, who does? — but despite that, or perhaps because of it, he unleashed a barrage of criticism straight at the USGA that, we'd bet, echoes many of the private thoughts of the rest of the field.
The USGA takes pride in "protecting par" at the U.S. Open, so much so that its rough cuts and pin setups verge on sadistic. It looks rough from outside the ropes, so what's it like to actually play the course under these conditions? An exercise in frustration, Moore said.
"I feel like instead of difficulty, they just go for trickiness, to be honest," he told a group of reporters after his round on Sunday.
In particular, Moore was disgusted with the 14th green, a nightmarish slope that killed several rounds throughout the weekend. Chipping up onto that was about as easy as chipping up onto the top of a Christmas tree, and Moore couldn't contain his fury.
"It would take not much to make that green at least halfway reasonable, and they refuse to do it," Moore said. "I think they go for a spectacle; they want some hole to draw attention and make everybody look stupid, I guess. It doesn't reward good golf shots like Augusta (National) does, and I don't understand why you'd have a tournament that doesn't reward good golf shots."
Moore also blasted the 17th — "It's completely unreasonable, just a horrible golf hole the way they set it up" — and noted that he was well aware of how ticked he was going to make the USGA.
Still, Moore does have a point. I'm all for testing the mettle of the best golfers on the planet, but some of the USGA's decisions — particularly that absurd 14th green — bordered on the unfair, if not the absurd.
So will Moore be playing any future U.S. Opens?
"Probably," he said, "just to torture myself."
Ryan Moore goes on anti-USGA rant [LA Times]