Saturday, January 5

USGA's Mike Davis to Relinquish U.S. Open Setup Duties



USGA EXECUTIVE JOHN BODENHAMER WILL be the new course setup man at the U.S. Open as Mike Davis steps aside to focus more on his CEO role at the USGA. Davis said the decision had nothing to do with the Saturday debacle at Shinnecock last June.

Golf Channel's Jaime Diaz reported:
For almost a decade, Davis' setups at venerated courses like Winged Foot, Oakmont, Pebble Beach and Pinehurst were favorably received, averted crisis, and earned him plaudits for his ability to comprehensively but fairly test the world's best. But passionate second-guessing of U.S. Open setups, more than the other three majors, has become a given in the golf community. Though Davis' ideas, like graduated rough and shortening the odd par 4 to be drivable, only slightly annoyed U.S. Open traditionalists, and his actual number of setup gaffes was close to zero, eventually – by virtue of expanded television coverage and social media that facilitates attention-grabbing criticism from, among others, players – he became a bigger lightning rod than his predecessors. Beginning in 2015, difficulties at three straight U.S. Opens – bumpy greens at Chambers Bay, the Dustin Johnson ruling at Oakmont, and too-wide fairways at Erin Hills – were laid at his feet. 
Then last June at Shinnecock Hills, on arguably America's greatest course and ultimate stage for the U.S. Open, the championship was tarnished. In Saturday's third round, heavy afternoon winds further desiccated an already mistakenly moisture-depleted back nine, causing balls to trickle and then roll far away from precariously perched hole locations on the 13th and 15th greens.
Good luck to John Bodenhamer. I think he's going to need it.

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