Fescue-mowing at Erin Hills not prompted by player reactions, USGA says

June 14, 2017

ERIN, Wis.—Much has been made of the fearsome fescue at Erin Hills. Wesley Bryan posted a video about it, Kevin Na ranted about it with a video of his own, and Lee Westwood used his caddie to add some humor to the buzzing topic.

Then, on Tuesday, the maintenance team here mowed some of that fescue back from the fairway on four holes (nos. 4, 12, 14 and 18).

Were these things connected? USGA executive director Mike Davis says no.

“When we made the decisions to modify a golf course, whether it’s green speeds, roughs, directions we’re mowing, how much water we’re applying or not applying. It’s not as if we don’t listen to feedback from players,” Davis said Wednesday. “But I will tell you in this case, it had nothing to do, absolutely zero to do with what the players were saying. We looked at some spots and we said this is simply not going to play properly.”

Davis was referring to how the grasses reacted to heavy rainfall Monday night into Tuesday morning. Nearly an inch-and-a-half of rain fell overnight Monday, which weighed down some of the heavier areas of fescue. The grass is thick in some spots, and those densest spots were possibly made unplayable by the rain.

“Some players are going to like it. Some players aren’t,” Davis continued. “And that’s okay. That really is okay.”

Photos and video of the maintenance staff doing their job populated Twitter on Tuesday, thanks in much part to player Peter Uihlein sharing a shot from inside the ropes. Curtis Strange also provided some video. You can check out Strange’s video below.