by Jeff Skinner
It was a crazy and controversial day at The Open Championship with players like Mickelson, Poulter and Dufner saying some greens and hole locations bordered on an unfair setup.
But 1998 Champion Golfer of the year, Mark O’Meara was fine with the setup. Of course he was…the 56 year old is this year’s Tom Watson. He shot a stellar four under 67 and sits one back of the first round leader, Zach Johnson. He said he didn’t feel 56 out there, “I felt thirty-two.”
O’Meara saw it differently from the group of whiners. “I’m not saying that I haven’t complained or gotten upset on the golf course, but I am not a big fan of guys that whine a lot.”
He took the whiners to task, “I don’t see any reason for it, especially as today’s generation are so talented. They’re playing for so much money and to show a little sign of appreciation, whatever sport you’re in, to people like all the volunteers, requires some responsibility. I think players should be more aware of that aspect to hopefully conduct themselves in the right manner on the golf course. And, when they don’t, it does bother me, to be honest with you.”
Peter Dawson, the Chief Executive of the R&A defended the setup and took a shot at Poulter, “Far from unplayable…but we do hear player comment and we’re not so insular as to ignore it. We’ll take that into account tonight when we decide how greenskeeping staff overnight are going to set up the course tomorrow. I do understand that some players get very frustrated. Ian Poulter, for example, bogeyed three out of the last four holes. We’re still very satisfied with the course. It’s playable, but indeed very testing.”
Dawson and crew now face a tough task in setting the course up so that both waves of players, the morning and afternoon groups, see a course that was similar. To soften the setup before the cut would give one group of players an advantage over the other. Dawson knows that so Poulter and crew can expect more of the same tomorrow.