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In attacking Tiger Woods, the USGA shows its old U.S. Open arrogance
The United States Golf Association — the rule-making governing body of golf in the U.S. that runs the U.S. Open — used to be one of the more arrogant organizations in all of sports. The blue jackets at the USGA could have long given any IOC chief or David Stern a run for their money.
Through the work of some really good people — including championship course setup magician and mild-mannered good guy Mike Davis — that dramatically changed over the last several years. Almost overnight, the USGA became one of the friendliest and most forward-thinking bodies in major sports.
Now that the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach isn't going exactly as the USGA hoped, the old haughty smugness has returned though.
If you're a golf nut, you know that this is the worst U.S. Open setup of Davis' otherwise largely spotless era. The drama that Davis built into other recent Open courses — particularly Torrey Pines in 2008, which only produced the greatest U.S. Open ever — is missing at Pebble Beach and its absence is glaring. There aren't enough birdie or bogey swing holes. The changing tee boxes that Davis used to such perfection at Torrey Pines have been a glaring omission at Pebble.
The greens aren't in good enough shape. There are too many cases where chance is trumping skill at this 110th U.S. Open.
It happens, just admit it and move on. Only, the USGA can't allow that. Instead, the blue bloods in blue blazers are attacking Tiger Woods — something they would have never dared do pre-sex scandal — because Tiger is an easy target right now.
Woods only said what many other golfers — and fans watching on TV — were thinking when he declared Pebble's greens "just awful" after his first round. Now, USGA executive director David Fay is firing back at Tiger with the final round underway, insisting that the greatest golfer in the world is "wrong" in his analysis of a putting surface.
Fay thinking he knows more about high-level golf than Tiger is ludicrous enough. But Fay didn't even stop there. He couldn't resist trying to play Phil Mickelson's good-guy image off against Tiger's.
"I think two players used the word awful on Thursday,” Fay told the Associated Press. “Phil said he putted awful. Tiger said the greens were awful."
Fay's point was unmistakable: The good Mickelson looks within himself while the bad Woods blames the innocent USGA.
Please ... what a bunch of bunk. Sports hasn't seen such a lame deflection of a legitimate issue (Pebble's bad greens) since Mark McGwire didn't want to talk about the past with Congress.
The bow-tied one (Fay's preferred neck wear) should be ashamed of himself. The USGA is once again back to being the bully. So much for being about golf for the people.