U.S. Open Report Card

from Golfdigest.com
from Golfdigest.com

The 2015 U.S. Open was all over the map as far as major tournaments go, so let’s make some sense of everything and grade out the main components.

Sunday Theater (Grade:  A minus).  I watched hours of action each day, but always look forward to the Sunday finishes of major tournaments, and this did not disappoint.  Unlike the snoozer at the last two Masters, the back nine on Sunday was awesome.  From Spieth and Johnson’s struggles with pressure, to the mini charges by McIlroy and Oosthuizen, and the courageous effort of Jason Day to stand upright and compete, the story lines were riveting.  Gets an A plus except for the balloon-popping 3-putt finish by Johnson.  Even Spieth seemed deflated, albeit momentarily.  What a horrible way to lose.

Holly Sonders photo - awfulannouncing.com
Holly Sonders
photo – awfulannouncing.com

Fox Broadcast Team (Grade: C).  Way too many four man talking head panels.  Reminiscent of their NFL pregame show and halftime updates.  Where was Terry and Jimmy?  Would have also preferred fewer human interest stories and more live golf.  Were they practicing for the Olympics?  Joe Buck was okay as the top guy and Greg Norman had some good insights, although the attempt to describe the details of Day’s medical condition didn’t go well.  The post game debrief sessions with Holly Sonders were short, to the point, and well done.

Chambers Bay Golf Course (Grade:  D plus).  Failed the standard of providing a full mental and physical test for the hardest tournament in the world.  Too quirky and too many bad bounces for good shots, but at the end of the day, even-par turned out to be a good score.  The greens, the greens, the greens. . .ad nauseam.  Thank goodness we’re going back to Oakmont next year.

U.S.G.A. (Grade:  C minus).  These guys took a risk with Chambers Bay and flopped.  That’s two years in a row of questionable layouts for our nation’s championship.  This was by far more controversial than the Pinehurst #2 redesign, but to their credit, they saved the Sunday round with accessible pin placements and didn’t make a mockery of the event.  Yes, it was an easier layout.  Look no further than Adam Scott’s final round 64 and Oosthuizen’s 29 on the inward half as proof.  The stuffed shirts WERE feeling the heat from the media and players, no matter what you hear/believe from Mike Davis, USGA Executive Director.

Player’s professionalism (Grade:  B minus).  A lot of whining about the greens, mostly from players who couldn’t putt them, like Sergio and Billy Horschel.  Joe Buck tried to set up Jordan Spieth,  at the trophy ceremony, to take a shot at the course but J.S. wouldn’t bite.  Great job praising the Seattle area fans and leaving the course out of it.  Spieth is truly an awesome champion and exemplifies everything that is right about the game today.

Billy Horschel from Golfdigest.com
Billy Horschel
from Golfdigest.com

What’s your grade for the U.S. Open?

12 thoughts on “U.S. Open Report Card”

  1. Hi Brian,
    Like you, I watch a lot of this tournament. I agreed with your assessment, but would not have rated the course or the coverage as high. The course is not one most of us would ever want to play even if they fix the greens. The price is too high for the average golfer and the history of famous tournaments is just not there yet. They have a number of years before they reach the fame of Pebble or Torrey Pines.
    The coverage left a lot to be desired. I didn’t like the screen behind Holly or how the players had to turn away from the camera to view it. As far as the other broadcast team they were flat with no spark at all. Fox needs to rethink their strategy for covering golf, they can’t just recycle their nfl team and expect people to enjoy the show. Golf is a different sport that has their own set of characters.
    Thanks for posting your insight. Enjoyed your review.


    1. Tina, great feedback, thanks! I don’t think greens fee price is a consideration for the course rota, else they’d never play again at Pebble Beach 🙂

      Now that you mention it, there should be a separate crew for football and golf. There are very few dual purpose on the other networks. The golf guys, like Norman and Pavin had the best insights, although Tom Weiskopf has the particular non-gift of reiterating the perfectly obvious. It will be better next year; hopefully!



  2. Good assessment Brian. If you are wondering why the USGA chose Chambers, just look at the input for the course design from Mike Davis, wondering if he had a financial reason as well.

  3. I agree with your assessment. I kinda liked the funky-ness of the course in that it forced players to be confident and aggressive with their play and putting even as they were pushed out of their comfort zone I mean, after a couple days one had to figure that you had to risk hitting the back of the cup strong or miss long, but the ball behaved when the putting line was true – and Jordan proved that out many a time from close in and far away. I was nonplussed with Holly but I thought it was a good first round for her after spending years with Martin Hall on Golf Channel – good for her!. And, yes – Joe Buck is waaaay better at announcing baseball or football and I too was waiting for the NFL robot to jump on screen once in a while. Good commentary all around but I would give the course – or at least the daring-ness behind the thought of the design a little higher mark – it was nice to see guys trying to sled the ball of the slopes. On course design, one sidenote, they did a good albeit kinda salty story about the brothers who designed it. Feels like a family feud was still taking place around the whole thing. Thanks – it’s refreshing to talk about the talking heads once in a while.

    1. SV, great input thanks! Seems like the only consensus is that the football announcers should stick to football. I kept waiting for Curt Menefee to break in with a Steelers – Bengals update.



  4. Reblogged this on the Silicon Valley Golfer and commented:
    A worthy unique perspective on this past week’s UP Open – broadcasters should take note, not all of us golf fans will just ingest whatever swill the powers that be want to serve up. Overall, to carry the wine analog, the nose and bouquet showed promise and seemed fresh and grassy but this medium bodied chardonnay could have been a bit more buttery and the hints of stone and gravel stayed too long in the finish. The label professed more than what the bottle delivered but overall still an approachable quaf.

  5. Brian,
    Nice assessment of your take on the US Open. Despite the controversy about the course, and the greens, it still produced a great leaderboard, an exciting finish, and a very worthy champion. So from that perspective, it was still fun to watch. Agree with some of your other points too, though.

    Can’t wait for the British! The Home of Golf never disappoints.


    1. Josh, my thoughts exactly. Sometimes the pros need to have their cages rattled a bit and Chambers Bay did that to an extent. Ultimately the guy who was cool, calm, and collected won it. Will be interesting to see how he approaches the third leg at St. Andrews. Let’s get it on; thanks!


  6. I don’t give the course as low a grade. From Jones’ response to Player’s rant, apparently the first super sodded the greens in a way that let the poa get in them. They had redone 7 and 13 since and those were the best on the course so maybe it gets better as it ages. Does it deserve to host a US Open? I don’t know, but it did. I am just happy the USGA moved the tourney from the Northeast for once. I am an East Coast guy, but I like seeing the tournament move to different places. I don’t need a rota, that’s for the Open. Great post!

    1. Jimmy, thanks for weighing in. Player’s response was a little over the top and unnecessary but Gary is clearly a traditionalist in the purest sense of the word. When you look at the full body of work, I’m not sure the course measured up to U.S. Open standards. I think I saw somewhere that the average putts per round was 33 in this championship, when the average on tour is 29. Don’t quote me on that but if it’s true that is a huge discrepancy. Let the debate continue. Thanks!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s