We’re All Losers : The RCS 2015 US Open Recap

“He three putted from 12 feet?  You’re sh!%ing me…”

“I’m in shock,” said Jordan Spieth in a post-round interview with Fox’s Holly Saunders, dressed like she works in the golf department of Edwin Watts. Dustin Johnson, who had just hit a five iron 247 yards to 12 feet on the par-5 18th hole, then three putted, giving the tournament to Spieth.

The ending was indicative to the entire 2015 US Open: a complete let down. As a serious golf fan and spectator, the experience was hollow, and it didn’t feel like anything like a major golf tournament.

Yes, those are train tracks and Star Wars props on the course.

Chambers Bay was built with a ton of fanfare, opening in 2007, and was immediately awarded the 2015 US Open. Who knows why…a new regional demographic? Nike? Were they looking for a different feel, conflicting with that a recipe that has worked for 100 years? Who cares. The course looked like an un-watered North Florida muni. The setup was strange, and it was hard to watch. There wasn’t a crowd of any significance. The cherry on top: there was a giant dumpster fire nearby on Saturday. The irony should not be lost.

The greens were awful. Billy Horschel, Gary Player, and Ian Poulter have been the most vocal about the conditions of the greens, and they won’t be the last. It was so sad to watch all the USGA representatives, as well as the Fox crew, try to make excuse after excuse for the course’s condition, and how ‘it’s part of the game’ or ‘suck it up’.

“Watch me hammer this putter into the green.  It’s going to be sweet.”

All of this attention ensures that the greens’ conditions and the USGA’s obvious whiff will continue to be a major story. In the post-round interview with baseball announcer Joe Buck, Spieth was asked what he thought of the course conditions, since he survived it, and won on it. His response (sic): “I know why the Cowboys hate playing up there, Seattle fans are awesome”. Check mate.

Fox Sports’ crew was like a bunch of deer in headlights. Joe Buck had no idea what he was talking about, and it was entertaining listening to him correct and overcorrect. Faxon and Weiskopf were fish out of water. Greg Norman, who is known for speaking his mind, was obviously following restraint instructions from the Fox brass. All in all, The Shark did a good job, but what they needed was a Johnny Miller-esque pontificator. Swing and a miss.


From a formula perspective, the US Open has been one of the most anticipated events of the year. This year, the USGA tried something new, and it failed. It failed badly. It’s the US Open, not the British Open. They play that event next month, where we’ll get to enjoy a treeless course and the huge greens. US golf is different. On this side of the pond we think of lush, long, tree-lined fairways, white sand bunkers, high rough and postage-stamp greens. That’s US golf. That formula isn’t broken, so don’t try and fix it.

Fox has the US Open for 11 more years, and next year’s Open is at Oakmont. Let’s all assume that Fox Sports will learn from this year’s disaster.

Images: Google Image search.



  1. BJH
    06/22/2015 / 1:40 PM

    Excellent. You didn’t mention the trains. Love watching a golf tournament where a working train passes thirty feet from the green DURING the tournament. I kept waiting to see guys huffing on a bong and playing hackey sack in the background. A weird cross between Caddyshack and Twin Peaks (the TV show not the restaurant).

  2. JNN
    06/22/2015 / 2:19 PM

    I actually thought Fox did a good job. The use of technology was awesome. Fair points on Greg holding back a bit. And Holly’s outfit was more appropriate for playing golf, not a professional journalist. But I thought Fox was the least of the problems.

    Goofy golf plus poor greens – oof. If they wanted to hold a US Open in the PacNW, they could’ve gone to Sahalee or a similar course.

  3. ACM
    06/22/2015 / 8:13 PM

    The USGA drives me crazy. Last year the way Pinehurst was set up was a joke. They took a legendary golf course and tried to turn it into a minor league links course. Totally agree on the links comment. The US Open should be long, with pure fairways, thick rough, and pure, slick greens.

    I would give Fox maybe a C-. I loved how they used shot tracer wherever they could, but did we really need it for a 123 yard par 3?

    Anyone notice that they had the bottom of the cups mic’d? It was awesome when you could hear Spieth’s birdie putt fall in on 16 and equally depressing listening to DJ’s losing tap in on 18.

    I thought all in all, Norman did a good job. Unlike Johnny Miller, he played recently enough to remember that professional golf is hard. Joe Buck was flat out terrible, I think he calls a good football game, but he was brutal. Kurt, the big guy from fox football? He would probably be close to finished eating a 7 iron before realizing it was a golf club. The Faxon/Pavin combo was about as boring as a chemistry lecture.

    Holly S. can say about anything and get away with it but those interviews were horrible. She asked Kevin Kisner 2 questions about Jason Day and called it a wrap.

    Last 3 things that were a joke. How about Fox panning in on an uncle or agent of Spieth when JS was talking about Father’s day while the whole audience watching is screaming at the TV, “that’s not his dad!” They panned over to poppa spieth with maybe a second to spare.

    Louis shoots 29 on the back 9 in a US open on a Sunday to be momentarily the clubhouse leader, did Fox even notice? That was HISTORY and Fox doesn’t know golf enough to even smell it. That and Adam Scott shooting 64 to get in contention. Johnny Miller did 1 shot better 3 or 4 decades ago and still won’t shut up about it.

    And finally, was it Shane Donahue who gave that narration summarizing the week? When it comes to the US Open, the last thing I want to listen to is some fuzzy little foreigner saying the word, “fescue” in a goofy accent 100 times.

    Thank God, they’re heading to Oakmont for next year. That’s a classic, even the USGA should have trouble screwing that up.

    As for Fox, well, better luck next year.

  4. AMT
    06/22/2015 / 9:14 PM

    The course wasn’t bad to watch I don’t think, but greens shouldn’t be that awful. It’s not difficulty when the ball is popping up 6″ off the ground 4 ft from the hole (Brandt’s putt).

    Fox was horrendous. I actually like Buck when he does the World Series and Sunday’s (nfl). Get him off the course though. I really hope Fox brings in some hired help. Liked the tech they used but the broadcast, videography, analysis was just garbage. The ratings were probably good though, so they won’t change a thing. Only positive was The Shark.

  5. Matt
    06/22/2015 / 10:53 PM

    I’d agree, except a Longhorn won so it’s all good

  6. Fritz
    06/23/2015 / 9:20 AM

    I actually enjoyed the change of pace in this year’s course selection. It was enlightening seeing how golf is played in the Pacific Northwest, and the bunkers/difficult greens made it equally challenging for all of the players. Maybe Spieth had an advantage as his caddy knew the course so well. Either way, he demonstrated that his game can be adapted to a variety of settings. Now I’m sure the USGA will revert back to Oakmont/Pinehurst/Bethpage Black/Whistling Straits/Shinnecock/etc etc.

  7. 06/23/2015 / 10:25 AM

    JRS, you’re on point. I eagerly anticipate all four majors and sadly this one was a disappointment. Collectively I may have watched a few hours of tournament coverage total, if that. Where in the past I try and absorb as much as my media resources can afford me. I guess we chalk it up the same way we do a bad birthday or a bad holiday and just look forward to the next one. A disappointing major like this one makes me appreciate the Masters and Augusta National that much more.

  8. Woody
    06/23/2015 / 2:00 PM

    1. Joe Buck
    2. Putt putt greens
    3. A train running almost through the damn course

    The only thing missing was a Wind mill on the 18th green!

  9. Clay
    06/26/2015 / 12:45 PM

    I had sworn from watching any US Open due to the stupid ways the USGA sets up courses, but I got sucked (suckered) in again. I watched a good bit of Sunday’s action and the word I kept saying was “Goofy Golf”. Even though the hottest golfer on the tour won, the USGA can take a golf course and render it in a way where it isn’t a fair test of golf. They will argue that (3) of the top 4 finishers were top 10 golfers, but that’s not the point. What’s wrong with a US Open where the winner is 12 under?

    Chambers Bay COULD have been a fine test of golf had the greens been in better shape. I think most of the golfers and viewers would agree. There is no excuse for the greens to be in worse shape than Candler Park Muni. I don’t care where the course is located, with today’s technology and techniques, you can grow nice grass anywhere.

    I am also tired of these nearly 8,000 yard set ups. So what if the guys are longer these days – make the course winnable by all pro golfers, not just the boomers.

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