We’re in the dark over this US Open! Stars fume as ridiculous tee times lead to twilight finish

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We’re in the dark over this US Open! Stars fume as tee times lead to twilight finish with co-leader Wyndham Clark describing the scheduling as ‘a little ridiculous’

  • US Open stars have criticised the ‘ridiculous’ tee times at the tournament
  • Co-leader Wyndham Clark said the scheduling questions tournament’s integrity 
  • Matt Fitzpatrick was critical of the very subdued atmosphere at the tournament 

For all the quality of competition on the course, the final round of the US Open commenced last night amid a growing whiff of disgruntlement from some of its protagonists.

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Gripes have been aired among a number of the major’s leading lights about the flat atmosphere, the corporate-heavy ticketing, the LA Country Club course and also the scheduling, with the 54-hole co-leader Wyndham Clark suggesting the latter has had a bearing on the tournament’s competitive integrity.

Pointing to the seemingly ludicrous decision of the US Golf Association to send out Fowler and Clark at 3.40pm local time on Saturday, which led to a twilight finish, the American said: ‘It’s a little ridiculous that we teed off that late. Around hole 15 or 16 it started getting to where you couldn’t see that well.

‘I 100 per cent think my bogey on 17 was because I couldn’t see and I think Rickie’s on 18 was because he couldn’t see.’

Tee times for the final round were brought forward by a little over an hour, with Clark and Fowler sharing the lead and Rory McIlroy in the penultimate group as he hunted his first major win in nine years.

Co-leader Wyndham Clark is among those to have complained about the US Open

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Co-leader Wyndham Clark is among those to have complained about the US Open

Anger about the scheduling has added to other criticism. There was a doubling down from Matt Fitzpatrick on his earlier critique of the atmosphere, which has been notably subdued. The limited space at LA Country Club means around 22,000 spectators have been allowed on to the grounds, compared to approximately 40,000 on corresponding days at Brookline last year.

The low footfall has been compounded by 14,000 of those tickets going to the hospitality and corporate sectors. Fitzpatrick, the defending champion, said: ‘It’s disappointing on the USGA side. I’ve heard a lot of members bought tickets and that’s why there’s so many less people. Hopefully it’s not the same for other US Opens going forward.’

The course has divided opinion. Padraig Harrington said the quirky set-up has the finest greens he has known at a major, and it has generally been well- received by the field, despite appearing more sedate than usual for a championship that prides itself on its level of challenge. Brooks Koepka was first to speak out, with Fitzpatrick and Viktor Hovland also critical.

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World No 5 Hovland said: ‘I’m not a big fan of this golf course, to be honest. I think there’s some good holes. I don’t think there’s any great holes. I think there’s a few bad holes.’

Fitzpatrick added: ‘Some of the tee shots are just a little bit unfair. You hit a good tee shot and end up in the rough by a foot and then you’re hacking it out.’

On the course, Tommy Fleetwood got off to a scorching start to his final round, picking up six strokes through 11 holes, including an eagle at six to reach for under.

Clark and Rickie Fowler were ludicrously sent out at 3.40pm local time on Saturday

Clark and Rickie Fowler were ludicrously sent out at 3.40pm local time on Saturday

Matt Fitzpatrick was critical of the very subdued atmosphere at the tournament

Matt Fitzpatrick was critical of the very subdued atmosphere at the tournament



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