US Open Diary: Sergio Garcia draws the flak as players bemoan greens

Sergio Garcia was not the only player at Chambers Bay to question the quality of the putting surfaces at this week’s US Open but having taken to his Twitter account to air a much-shared view, the Spaniard the Americans love to heckle inevitably drew the most flak.

US Open Diary: Sergio Garcia draws the flak as players bemoan greens

Rory McIlroy had called the inconsistent greens, where the fine fescue has been infiltrated by a faster growing poa annua grass, “not the best I have putted on” as he shot an opening two-over-par 72 on Thursday, while Colin Montgomerie, despite an impressive one-under 69 from the 51-year-old Scot, was more strident, labelling the greens, “very, very poor”.

Garcia, still searching for his first major title, tweeted via @TheSergioGarcia, writing that his opening round of 70 could have been better the way he played “but this greens are as bad as the look on TV.”

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The USGA’s decision to hand over its championship broadcasting rights, including the US Open, to Fox for 12 years has placed the Rupert Murdoch-owned American network under plenty of scrutiny as it made its majors debut in Washington State this week.

Plenty of the reviews have been cautiously postitive for a presentation team led by Fox’s main sports commentator and golf rookie Joe Buck and lead analyst Greg Norman and also including a minor presenting role for Irish broadcaster Shane O’Donoghue.

Inevitably there were mis-steps, with Fox losing its leaderboard feed midway through the first round and Norman’s audible heavy breathing during his commentary spots jarring with many.

Sometimes Fox seemed to be trying just a little too hard, Buck at one point claiming excitedly as another freight train rumbled past the 16th fairway: “That’s a real working train! It’s not like it’s a zoo train.” But so far and for the most part, Fox were keeping their coverage safely on track.

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Much has been made of this week’s youngest competitor Cole Hammer, making his US Open debut as a sectional qualifier at the age of just 15. A close-up of the teenager as he prepared for his opening round with eyes closed tight and lip quivering was assumed to be the Texan kid struggling to fight back tears.

Not a bit of it, said the Dallas boy following a difficult first-round 77.

“I can’t even describe what I felt on the first tee.

“I was just praying. I always pray right before my round on the first tee. And so, yeah, that’s all I was doing. I wasn’t emotional or anything.”

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