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USGA Takes it On the Chin from Anonymous Whiny Tour Babies

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Phil's fiasco (and others) have exposed a deepening rift between the ruling body and the game's best players, who once even considered a boycott of the U.S. Open

I'm siding more with this article:

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Are there problems with the USGA and the U.S. Open? Sure there are. Are the players and caddies overreacting? Absolutely.

 

What do you think?

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I definitely agree with the second article. I had previously read the first one but just read the second. Yeah, it’s gotten ridiculous. I’m think what stood out the most was the mention of players blaming the course for what was really just poor execution. So there’s a tournament, one week of the year, where they play an unusually difficult set up. Every player has the same course to play and as all these players whine and pout ...someone goes low. ‘Live Under Par’ should become ‘ Shut Up and Play.’

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You’ll notice that you’ll never find the winner of a tournament complaining about the course. It’s one of many things that makes Brooks Koepka so killer at majors—he accepts the course for what it is, knows that everyone has to play the same track and simply rolls with the punches.

This is basically it. Same with Tiger and Molinari and all the other winners of majors recently or all time for that matter. Phil played poorly and lost his cool. Dustin 3 putted from what, 10 feet? It is silly. Sure the greens make have gotten too dry, but EVERYONE had to play on them, not just to players who played poorly. BK didn't putt the ball off the green that day. 

It's like Kansas City complaining about overtime rules in the NFL instead of trying to figure out why they (the #1 offense in the NFL) scored 0 points in the first half of the AFC Championship. 

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I found the money complaint one of the few sympathetic ones, weirdly. 

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I think the title of this thread sums it up perfectly.

I also think an article of anonymous quotes is bullshit. I wouldn’t be surprised if half the quotes are adjusted by the author or intentionally taken out of context. 

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One of my takeaways is that tour players love birdie fest courses.  So go play a TPC course every week where -20 wins - BORING!  Clearly the USGA has made some mistakes at times but being a major champion shouldn't be easy. Funny how no complained how unfair Bethpage was - could it be that players think long rough is fair but fast greens aren't, or just that USGA wasn't involved?  IDK, but it's amazing how spoiled these guys can make themselves look sometimes.

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The USGA has to have the worst press of any organization this side of ISIS. While the USGA has definitely screwed some things up, this level of vitriol is crazy.

I think a lot of this stems from the fact that the USGA wanted to change from being the toughest event in golf every year, and to get away a bit from the whole even par will win thing. The media whined about that, which then fed into the players. Then, the USGA's missteps made everything worse.

But, I think the USGA is trying to do something good by getting away from being super tough and making even par win. First, it sucks to play on a course with deep rough and 20 yard wide fairways. There are many courses who want to mirror those tough conditions (look at Bethpage Black, for example), and it makes golf harder and less fun. It's not fun to hack it out sideways into the fairway, nor is it fun to lose a ball in rough a couple of yards off the fairway. I like that the USGA is trying to get away from that and show people that there are other, better ways to play golf.

Unfortunately, the media and some of the players just don't get that. And they want to whine about how the toughest test in golf is no longer that. (Johnny Miller calling Erin Hills the Milwaukee Open, for example.) It's still a major; it's still the US Open. It's not easy to win it.

So, I think the players pick up on what the media says and then it just gets amplified. Zach Johnson has been bitching about the USGA set up for years, with people in the media cheering him on (and now roasting him for it). But god forbid that you get a little out of your comfort zone...

2 hours ago, jamo said:

I found the money complaint one of the few sympathetic ones, weirdly. 

Me too, actually. The players are earning a lot of money for the USGA, and I think they're entitled to receive a lot of it. The USGA not being able to provide an accounting for where all this money goes is not good, too. And even with all this money, they still require people to pay $100+ to "volunteer" at an event. So, this specific complaint didn't annoy me like some of the others did.

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Precisely why I don't watch much pro golf. I never really cared for the cry baby attitudes. 

You play with the skill you have, against what the course offers up. 

I like the U.S.O., and the tougher set ups. If some of the players don't like it, they don't have to play in it. 

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2 hours ago, Hardspoon said:

I also think an article of anonymous quotes is bullshit. I wouldn’t be surprised if half the quotes are adjusted by the author or intentionally taken out of context. 

I don't think I'd go that far, but I did find it rich that plenty of the anonymous sources mentioned other players by name. Someone specifically mentioned that Rory was prepared to walkout or boycott or whatever, which is funny since they wouldn't put their own name to it. 

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It’s a bunch of whining. This is one where taking the high road is the way to go. Everyone plays the same course and has to deal with the tough conditions. It does seem whining always has to do with green speeds and putting pins in certain positions. But it’s the US Open. It’s supposed to be tough. Just play the course in front of you and try to post the lowest score.

By the way, the only time I’ve ever heard an overwhelming number of players praise the course set up was 2017. Hmmmm....I wonder why that is.

Edited by ChrisP

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When you got an organization, like the USGA, that has one big-time tournament per year, they 1) Look to make as much money as they can and 2) Need to differentiate the event from all the other tournaments over the course of the year. It's only natural, the relationship between the USGA and the players would be a bit difficult at times.

The average Joe has no sympathy for pro golfers who make a lot of money, but the ball is probably in the USGA's court to try to smooth over some things. I agree with some of the other posters that upping the prize money is important. Also, the USGA should be mindful, as an organization, of the tone it takes with the players. One thing I think the USGA should not do is make the US Open significantly easier than it has historically been. This has always been how they differentiate this tournament. Without the punishing conditions, the US Open would start looking a lot more like the PGA Championship.

You got to remember that there are many, many other tournaments that pro golfers can compete in through the year. If the USGA gives the players a valid reason to skip the US Open, a bunch of them may take it.

Edited by mcanadiens

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1 hour ago, DeadMan said:

And even with all this money, they still require people to pay $100+ to "volunteer" at an event. So, this specific complaint didn't annoy me like some of the others did.

You're way, way off base with that one Daniel. It's not about the $100+ at all, but about accountability, scheduling, etc. The USGA loses a little money on the volunteer kits.

The volunteers at the Senior PGA I just attended paid $150 for their kits. This is pretty much the rule at EVERY PGA Tour event, for very, very good reasons.

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meh - they can complain all they want.  I don't care one way or the other since they all play the same course it's as fair as it gets.  Win with -25, or win with +25, you beat everyone else on the same track.....

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32 minutes ago, iacas said:

You're way, way off base with that one Daniel. It's not about the $100+ at all, but about accountability, scheduling, etc. The USGA loses a little money on the volunteer kits.

The volunteers at the Senior PGA I just attended paid $150 for their kits. This is pretty much the rule at EVERY PGA Tour event, for very, very good reasons.

Accountability is not something I thought about, fair point.

I'm calling BS on the USGA losing money on volunteer kits, though. I paid $100 to volunteer at the Mid-Am in September, and all I'm getting is a polo. Maybe it's different at other USGA events, but there's no way they're losing money on my $100.


And Justin Thomas weighs in:

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At a press event for the European Tour's Scottish Open, Justin Thomas was vocal in his angst toward the USGA but adamant about wanting to win the...

My favorite quote:

“The last couple of years or so it has been good for the game when guys have been a little bit more outspoken and honest,” he said. “

But we never want to come off as bratty. At the end of the day, this is what we do and we want to make sure it’s as good as possible and fair. Sometimes it’s hard for other people to understand that. But we are getting to the point where, if stuff gets out of control, we don’t feel like we have to hold back anymore. We can say how we feel.”

That's rich, especially coming from him.

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1 hour ago, DeadMan said:

Me too, actually. The players are earning a lot of money for the USGA, and I think they're entitled to receive a lot of it. The USGA not being able to provide an accounting for where all this money goes is not good, too. And even with all this money, they still require people to pay $100+ to "volunteer" at an event. So, this specific complaint didn't annoy me like some of the others did.

I don't believe that its a matter of the USGA being unable to provided an accounting, but being unwilling to open their books for everyone to see.  That would open them up to even more criticism, everyone would have an opinion of where more or less money should be spent.  Separately, the PGA Tour is set up to do what is best for the PGA Tour players, so a huge percentage of their income from ticket sales and media fees goes back out as prize money.  The USGA gets income from memberships, and from the US Open, and uses it to fund amateur events, agronomy research, and a myriad of other tasks.  That they offer the highest purse of the year seems appropriate, but its always going to be a relatively small portion of their income for the tournament.  I have a hard time with players who are making millions of dollars complaining, threatening to boycott, because they're not getting a big enough piece of the pie.

Oh, and as a 4-time volunteer at the US Open, we had to pay to buy our uniforms.  The last time was 2014 at Pinehurst, we got 2 shirts and a hat, for a cost.  The cost was very reasonable, I think under $100.  The volunteers had an air-conditioned pavilion on the course, and were provided a meal ticket for each day worked.  Yes, we had to commit to a certain number of hours through the week, 20 hours over 4 days.  They use nearly 10,000 volunteers over the course of a week.

Edited by DaveP043

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4 minutes ago, DeadMan said:

I'm calling BS on the USGA losing money on volunteer kits, though. I paid $100 to volunteer at the Mid-Am in September, and all I'm getting is a polo. Maybe it's different at other USGA events, but there's no way they're losing money on my $100.

For example, the volunteers at the Oakmont U.S. Open got:

  • Two polos
  • A rain jacket.
  • A hat (or two?)
  • A string bag/backpack.
  • A water bottle.
  • Free lunches.
  • Free admission when they weren't working.

At any rate, it's not a moneymaking venture for the USGA. It's almost entirely about scheduling, accountability, etc.

P.S. I think the "level" of volunteer you are affects what you get. I spoke to the head marshal for one of the holes, and he was responsible for the rotations and whatnot when he was there.

The volunteers at the Senior PGA got (for $150):

  • A polo.
  • A hat of their choice (the buckets were nicer).
  • A string bag.
  • A water bottle.
  • A wind jacket.

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2 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

I don't believe that its a matter of the USGA being unable to provided an accounting, but being unwilling to open their books for everyone to see.  That would open them up to even more criticism, everyone would have an opinion of where more or less money should be spent.  Separately, the PGA Tour is set up to do what is best for the PGA Tour players, so a huge percentage of their income from ticket sales and media fees goes back out as prize money.  The USGA gets income from memberships, and from the US Open, and uses it to fund amateur events, agronomy research, and a myriad of other tasks.  That they offer the highest purse of the year seems appropriate.  I have a hard time with players who are making millions of dollars complaining, threatening to boycott, because they're not getting a big enough piece of the pie. 

100% correct. However, when the players are really who are earning the USGA all that money, I can understand them wanting to see where it goes. Especially when they're used to the PGA Tour, which is controlled by the players. Tour players have already had historical success with taking control of the events they play in. I totally understand where they are coming from, and it would probably benefit the USGA to break it down more, if only for just the players and not the public.

Think about it this way, if you can see that you're bringing in $1,000,000 worth of revenue to your business, but only getting paid $100,000, you're going to want a raise. Or you're going to find a new job that pays you more in line with the revenue you bring in. It doesn't really change when you add more zeros onto the ends of those numbers.

5 minutes ago, iacas said:

At any rate, it's not a moneymaking venture for the USGA. It's almost entirely about scheduling, accountability, etc.

This sort of goes back to a point I made above, though. It's entirely about the perception here. The USGA should be presenting it as this - it's for some gear, it's to ensure you show up, that we get serious volunteers, and you will get more than $100 of value out of it. The perception (and I haven't gone back to the original e-mail I got about this to double check what it actually says) is that you have to pay to have the opportunity to volunteer at this amazing event.

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16 minutes ago, DeadMan said:

However, when the players are really who are earning the USGA all that money, I can understand them wanting to see where it goes.

The hell they are.

18 minutes ago, DeadMan said:

This sort of goes back to a point I made above, though. It's entirely about the perception here. The USGA should be presenting it as this - it's for some gear, it's to ensure you show up, that we get serious volunteers, and you will get more than $100 of value out of it. The perception (and I haven't gone back to the original e-mail I got about this to double check what it actually says) is that you have to pay to have the opportunity to volunteer at this amazing event.

It’s the same deal across all of tournament golf. Your perceptions are just out of whack.

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