Did the USGA get the Pebble Beach set-up right for the US Open?
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 17/06/19 6:47am
After several controversies in recent years, much of the focus heading into this year's US Open was on the course set-up at Pebble Beach, so did the USGA get it right?
The tournament organisers were under pressure to deliver a "smooth" championship this week at one of the most iconic venues in the world, particularly after the farcical events that dominated the headlines during the third round last year.
Several pin positions on the back nine for Saturday's play at Shinnecock Hills were borderline unplayable when the wind got up stronger than expected, and the difficulty of the course gradually increased throughout the day.
Only three players broke 70, and two of them - Daniel Berger and Tony Finau - went from the bottom of the leaderboard to the top while the enduring image of the day was Phil Mickelson chasing after a putt on the 13th green and tapping it back towards the hole while it was still moving.
The previous year, Erin Hills came under fire for being too easy after Brooks Koepka stormed to victory on 16 under, and Johnny Miller was incensed when his US Open record round of 63 was matched by Justin Thomas.
The course set-up in 2016 at historic Oakmont, where Miller's stunning closing round propelled him to victory in 1973, was reasonably well-received, but the USGA were again savaged when they delayed a decision over a possible penalty on the final day for Dustin Johnson until after he had finished his round.
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It was not just the set-up that marred the 2015 US Open at Chambers Bay, it was the conditioning of the layout and the greens which came under scrutiny. Henrik Stenson summed them up best when he said they were "like putting on broccoli".
There have been numerous other problems which have put the USGA on the defensive over the years, most notably when they lost control of the Shinnecock Hills over the weekend in 2004, so it was imperative they got through the 119th edition of the US Open with incident.
Some suggested they were perhaps too cautious with the course and the pin positions over the four tournament days, with scoring vastly improved on the last time the championship was staged at Pebble Beach in 2010 as level par was enough to secure a maiden major title for Graeme McDowell.
This year, it was Gary Woodland's turn to experience the elation of major glory, firing rounds of 68, 65, 69 and 69 to finish on 13 under par - three shots clear of Brooks Koepka.
But was the good scoring this year down to an easy course set-up? Or was it because of the cool, damp conditions and very little wind? Or was it simply some great golf?
Do you think the course set-up was fair for the 119th US Open at Pebble Beach? Cast your vote below ...