The course design as well as the condition of the greens has come in for fierce criticism over the first two days of the tournament, with many players unable to contain their frustration.
Jordan Spieth labelled the 18th “the dumbest hole I’ve ever played” after the closing hole was switched from a par-five to a par-four for the second round, while Henrik Stenson compared the greens to “putting on broccoli” following his second-round 74.
Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood were among the others to voice their concerns, but Player did not hold back when asked about his opinion on the layout.
In an interview with the Golf Channel, the nine-time major winner described the Robert Trent Jones Jnr design as a “tragedy”, and he believes some of those who missed the cut will be relieved to be going home early.
“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,” said the South African. “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, and what they did at Bethpage was tremendous. But you don’t bring the US 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 greens are virtually unplayable. Did you see how these pros were three-putting on Friday 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. This is one of the worst golf courses I’ve seen in my 63 years as a pro.
“It’s 7,900 yards long, and the world is in dire straits with water. Can you imagine the costs to maintain this? And it’s a public course, but they’ll probably charge the public $200 to play it. I’d like to challenge anyone with a 16 handicap to do better than 40 over par. It’s basically unplayable.”
Player’s views were echoed by Stenson, who slipped four shots off the halfway lead after playing his second round in the tougher, afternoon conditions.
“The way we’re playing this course in the afternoon compared to the morning,??it’s borderline laughable at some of the greens and some of the pin positions,??when we’re actually almost better off plugged in a bunker than being on the top??of a ridge, like on the fourth,” said the Swede.
“And it’s pretty much like putting on broccoli, as well. If you’re doing any??good in this championship you’re playing late in the afternoon and it’s going to??be more like we had today. So it’s obviously good practice for the next couple??of days.
“I kind of lost my patience on the eighth more than anything and hit a lovely??shot into nine and was putting down on something that looked like the surface of??the moon.”