The U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills is just two weeks away and 2011 champion Rory McIlroy wanted to make one thing clear to the USGA: the pros aren’t as good as you think.
Speaking at Muirfield Village Golf Club during the Memorial Tournament this past weekend, McIlroy was asked following his third round if the USGA realizes just how good the players are at the highest level. McIlroy went in a different direction with the question.
“No, see I think the USGA thinks that we’re better than we actually are, if that makes sense. I think they overthink it,” McIlroy said. “I don’t think it should be as much of an exact science to set up golf course as it is. I mean, get the fairways sort of firm, grow the rough, put the pins in some tough locations, but fair, and go let us play.
“It’s been a very reactionary few years to what happened at Chambers Bay, to Oakmont, to then, because I think they felt Erin Hills was going to be similar to Chambers Bay, they soaked it and made it really wide, and all of a sudden 16 under par wins again, and they’re like, ‘Um, what just happened?’ So I think they have to take previous results out of their head and just say, ‘Okay, let’s set up this golf course as best as we can and just let the guys go play.'”
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 30, 2018
Despite McIlroy’s win at Congressional, the Ulsterman hasn’t fared very well at U.S. Opens in recent years, missing the cut each of the past two editions. The fact that he didn’t play the weekend in 2016, however, didn’t influence his opinion on the course setup.
“I thought Oakmont was really good. Bethpage, that was really wet and long and — no, I thought they did great with Oakmont. You don’t need to do much with Oakmont to have a U.S. Open there,” he said.
McIlroy parlayed weekend rounds of 64-67 into a top-10 finish at the Memorial Tournament, and said after his final round that he is already heading to Long Island to begin his U.S. Open prep.
“I’m happy enough with that and feel like I’ve seen a lot of good stuff over the last couple of days to give me encouragement heading into the U.S. Open,” he said. “It’s better to practice there than it is to practice down in Florida this time of year, just it’s soft and rain and humid.
“I’m actually just going to play a few other golf courses around the area the next few days and sort of relax and take it easy up there.”