'They've lost the golf course': Zach Johnson rips third round setup at Shinnecock Hills

‘They’ve lost the golf course’: Zach Johnson rips third round setup at Shinnecock Hills

Shinnecock Hills played very difficult for many players Saturday, just as it did Thursday. But whenever that’s the case, as it is often at the U.S. Open, did it play fair? Zach Johnson thinks not.

Johnson spoke candidly with Sky Sports following his third round, a 72, saying on the record, “Unfortunately, they’ve lost the golf course.”

This comes after the first two rounds, where many players were complimentary of the course setup, and very few players complained. Johnson said plenty more during the interview. Check out the transcript below.

“We’re not on the edge. I thought we could be on the edge, but we’ve surpassed it.” Johnson said. “Yeah, it’s pretty much gone. Specifically the latter part of the day for us. It’s pretty much shot, which is unfortunate, because it’s — in my opinion — some of the best land and certainly one of the best venues in all of golf, specifically in this country. It’s as good as it gets. Shinnecock Hills is beautiful. Unfortunately, they’ve lost the golf course.

“I feel for the membership, because a lot of them are good friends of mine. I feel for the spectators, who are seeing absolute, pure carnage. Unless they want to. I don’t know if that’s their intent. I feel for the USGA because I don’t think that was their overall intent from the very beginning. When it comes to things that have happened in the past, you’ve got to err on the side of conservative. A conservative nature. A conservative approach. That wasn’t done today.”

For context, former USGA chief executive David Fay joined the FOX broadcast and shared his take on the conditions. When asked if he thought the USGA would say the course is playing as they’ve intended: “I think they would say yes, I would say no. Call me old-school, I love this golf course. I happen to think the height of grass through the whole golf course has gotten too short … I thought the ideal US Open we had here at Shinnecock Hills was 1995.”

Russell Knox didn’t exactly agree with Johnson, but did offer something similar.