UNIVERSITY PLACE, Washington (Reuters) - Tiger Woods said it was “tough” while Jordan Spieth described it as “dumb” when asked about the 18th hole at Chambers Bay which has switched between a par-five and par-four at this week’s U.S. Open.
The par-five version, set at 617 yards for the opening round, met with general approval from the players but the par-four incarnation, a beast of 514 yards for Friday’s second round, was widely panned.
“Eighteen as a par-four doesn’t make much sense,” Spieth told reporters after double-bogeying the hole en route to a three-under-par 67 that earned him the early clubhouse lead.
“Of course, when I didn’t hit the right shots it’s going to make less sense. And whatever microphones are going to pick up, they’re going to pick it up. I‘m not going to put a smile on and be happy with the way I played the hole.”
A frustrated Spieth ran up an ugly six on the hole after hitting both his tee shot and his third into bunkers.
“The hole doesn’t make sense because you can hit it down the left center of the fairway and still end up in the right bunker in trouble,” the Masters champion said.
“There’s a group of about 10, 12 guys that can fly at 310 yards that have an entirely different hole to play there. For anybody else, you have to hit it in a five or six-yard area.”
As set up for the second round, the 18th hole gave players the option to drive over the right bunker, a carry of 272 yards, to catch the downhill portion of a left-to-right sloping fairway with up to 100 yards of roll.
However, they had to guard against going too far down the right side into a cross bunker at 325 yards from the tee, with the sun-baked course running fast and firm.
”I just didn’t know where I could hit that tee shot,“ said Spieth, the world number two. ”I wasn’t going to hit a three-iron into a 550 yard par-four. I wasn’t going to hit three-iron off the tee and then hit three-wood.
“So all in all, I thought it was a dumb hole today.”
Former world number one Woods bogeyed the hole on the way to a six-over-par 76 and his sixth missed cut in a major championship.
”It’s tough right now because it’s downwind, but that right bunker comes into play,“ said Woods, now shockingly ranked 195th. ”And you’ve got to take it up the left side.
“So you either decide: do you take it up the left side or hit three-wood off the tee and lay it up for the right bunker? I think it’s 324 to the right bunker, but that’s nothing downwind like this.”
Editing by Andrew Both