McIlroy cuts up rough about US Open decision
RORY McIlroy blasted the US Open organisers after they reacted to a players' mutiny by chopping back the knee-deep rough at Erin Hills.
The world No. 2 was furious, as he felt the decision reduced his chances of claiming a fifth Major title.
Before the U-turn he said many of the 156 players in the field were beaten before the first ball was struck.
As the best driver of the ball in the game, McIlroy was planning a highly aggressive plan of attack, even with the unforgiving fescue waiting to snaffle loose shots.
"Really? They're cutting it back? We have 60 yards (of fairway) from left line to right line,” McIlroy seethed.
"You've got 156 of the best players in the world here, if we can't hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.
"These are the widest fairways we've ever played in a US Open. Even the first and second cut is another 10 yards on top of that.
"So if you've got 50 or 60 yards to hit into and you're complaining about the fescue that's wider than that, I don't think that's an issue.
"I get that it's thick and whatever, but it's a hazard. If you put red lines just right along that people wouldn't complain, it's a hazard ... and so, I don't know, I just think it's a US Open, it's supposed to be a tough test.
"And if guys can't put it into play within a 50-60 yard zone I don't think they've got much to complain about.
"I feel like some of the players this week, the rough's already got into their head. That's not the way you want to start off. You want to start off with positivity and a positive frame of mind, and that's the way I'm trying to approach it”
The rough is fearsome in plenty of places, and not everyone agreed with McIlroy's view that the original set-up should have been left the way it was.
Lee Westwood took one look at the course and declared: "It's a jungle out there.”
And Westwood proved his point by posting an Instagram video of caddie Billy Foster crawling out of a patch of knee deep rough. clutching a golf ball and announcing: "I've found it!”.
Foster has also caddied for the likes of Seve Ballesteros, Sergio Garcia, and Darren Clarke while clocking up more than 100 appearances at Major championships. He described Erin Hills as "long and smelly”.
"The smelly part is obviously that rough. It's among the longest and thickest stuff I've ever seen at a tournament,” he said.