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« 2013 U.S. Open: Your Kneejerk Reactions | Main | Video: Stefani's Amazing Merion Ace! »

Video: Phil To Mike Davis On 274-Yard 3rd: "Terrible"

Thanks to's Jay Coffin for Tweeting this video where NBC's crack audio team picking up a frank conversation between Phil Mickelson and USGA Executive Director Mike Davis after the 3rd hole, which played 274 yards into the wind.

The transcript:

"274?  That's terrible. Can't even reach it."

The hole was playing straight into the wind as forecasted.

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Reader Comments (94)

Phil was correct. Holes #3 & #5 were set up almost unplayable. Mike Davis will take his ego and inflate it 100 times for +1 as winning score.
Billy Casper didn't complain In 1959 at Winged Foot when the par-3 third hole was long. Casper believed that going for birdie was too risky and while others went for the green, he laid up to the par-3 green all four days. He took his par while everyone else bogeyed, and won by 3 strokes. It might have been a good strategy for Merion.
06.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBob in Hanoi
Let's just get rid of par altogether...or just say that 4 on every hole is the "standard" so TV can track scores relative to players all over the course (because that is really all it is good for).

So basically, just give the players a yardage for each hole and tell them to make the best score they can. If they want to think of a 274 yard hole as a par 4, let them...if they want to see it as a par 3, let them. If deciding what par is makes a difference in how they play the hole, then it really is a mental issue.
06.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve
And where, exactly, would you lay up on 3? Red tees?
06.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLilkeysdad
In 1974, the massacre at Winged Foot, every hole had a birdie on Sunday. If you played the hole correctly, a birdie could be had. This was not true at Merion. It appears that certain holes needed to be played perfectly just for par with birdie out of the question. Regardless the best player won.
06.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJSS
But Merion protected par. is there anything else about this tournament that matters? Did the clown from the USGA mention the course before he mentioned Rose in his post tournament remarks?
06.16.2013 | Unregistered Commenterknottypine
I didn't see any closely mown area on #3 where one could lay up. # Bob in Hanoi and Steve, just where would YOU have played your tee shot to? The hole is virtually all carry with knee-high rough between you and hole. Take a look at the par 3 where Buffalo Billy 'laid up' on and you would see there was a "closely mown area' for him to play to and from short of the hole. No such offering at Merion. Matter of fact, it was difficult to find the "closely mown areas" on a lot of holes at Merion this week. #3 was a joke.
How is Phil's complaining any different than Zach's?
06.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
" mention the course before he mentioned Rose in his post tournament remarks?"

Well, it is customary to thank the generous hosts early on.
06.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarl Peterson
@DTF, I don't think it was any different and I think they both were right. Lucky enough to be at Merion for a few days and it was a fantastic venue. No reason to manipulate a great course. I'm glad Phil gave him crap about it but I don't think Teflon Don, I mean Sir Mike Davis really cares. A few days ago there was a post on this site about the length of the fairways being cut longer and how it was a nod toward sustainability, according to Davis. That may be the biggest crock of BS I have ever heard after walking across many of them. I believe that he honestly thinks everyone is an idiot and is just going to believe him if it comes out of his mouth. Now onto Pinehurst where he has made many site visits already and is in full manipulation mode according to many sources. To think he has the ego to believe he can change some of the greatest courses in the world is incredible.
06.16.2013 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv
@ Ol Harv Agree on assessment of Davis - as a member of Pinehurst, I hope to goodness they don't melt at his feet and let him do what he did at Merion. Coore / Crenshaw's changes were enough. They have jacked the guest fees up to $415 and double the membership ignition fees and are proud they are getting it.
When Davis negotiated to keep course set up responibilities when he became Exec Director sent off red flags for me.
06.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPABoy
I have no doubt they (USGA) will be scared to death about not having rough at Pinehurst. I predict there will be some to protect par.
06.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLynn S.
@Carl - I sensed some gloating in his remarks about Merion standing up, which is the only the thing that really matters to the blue blazered crowd. As a result, you get 274-yard par 3s into the wind.

Mike Davis doesn't just have the ego to think he can change some of the best courses in the world, he does change them to protect par.
06.16.2013 | Unregistered Commenterknottypine
Good stuff Harv...
06.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
"which is the only the thing that really matters to the blue blazered crowd. "

So, would you say that this USOpen was consistent with all the others? If so, then perhaps you just don't like 'USOpen golf' and might want to consider avoiding it (the same advice I would give to Zach Johnson, btw).
06.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarl Peterson
No matter how bad the course set up is, they always fall back on how it's suppose to be a "test". This is another of several set ups that does not test the players, it shows the stupidity of the USGA. But if anyone has ever heard them say they got it wrong, just once, let us know. Guys couldn't reach the fairway at Bethpage, couldn't hold greens at Shinnicock and the players were wrong, all 150 of them.
06.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKG
The hole did play 274 yards to the hole (from the tee), but the hole was cut 31 yards from the front of the green (green is 47 yard long!). So it was about 243 to the front of the green. How is it that a player who can carry it 315-320 on many of his drives...says he can't reach the green when it starts about 80 yards shot of that?

Of course Phil didn't have his driver in the bag...but that was his choice.
06.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve
Phil, you shoulda hit driver.

Only guy who can play the longest course in US open history, and the shortest course in (post-pro V1) history, both without a driver.
06.16.2013 | Unregistered Commentersmails
Had Joe Dey been there, his response to Six-Time Bridesmaid would've been: "Shut up and hit it."
06.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhew
This video makes me like Phil even more. Good for him to call BS to Davis's face. It's even funnier when juxtaposed against CBS mid round today quoting Phil saying to Davis this is the best US Open he's ever played in.
06.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPat
The Pro from Dover,

The World's Smallest Violin plays for the members of Pinehurst and those guests who fork over $415 (and then stick it to the caddies, locker room staffers, and parking lot attendants) while bemoaning the agonies of free-market capitalism - not to mention supply and demand.
06.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhew
@ Pro

I will take my well-deserved penalty for hitting send before finishing my thoughts (the risk of sacrificing sleep to watch, our broadcast started at midnight).

I wanted to make the point that you didn't have to go for the pin. Hit the green, make your par, go on. Others did that. Can't Phil hit the green?

On Sunday Mike Weir birdied #3, as did 4 others. 41 pars, 26 bogeys, and Phil.
06.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBob in Hanoi
@Pro, From what I have seen Davis has already started imposing his authority at Pinehurst. You no doubt have heard the story about the fifth tee and how far that has been extended and how Pinehurst gave up a "prime" building lot so he could do it. I was astounded last time out at #2 how just about every single hole was lengthened. Both Opens at Pinehurst were challenges and Davis has no business coming in there now and putting his "architectural expertise" to work.
06.16.2013 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv
Mickelson is so full of it. Did he not look at the scorecard before the start of the round to adjust his equipment. No one forced him to take driver out of his bag. Did he not tell Mike Davis the other day that this was the best US Open setup ever and then promptly cursed him after his double b. What a dick!
06.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Backyard
While yall figure it out, think about me. I am finally going in to get my shoulder replaced on Tuesday.

Say a prayer, if you are so inclined.
06.16.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Always praying for all on this planet even if its filled with amateur golfers who set up professional golf tournament courses.
06.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmen Coroner
The biggest outrage should be over having to watch a 30 second ad in order to get to a 3 second conversation
06.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGolfin Dolphin
The bottom line is everyone played from the exact same tee box. So it's relative, no advantage for anyone. Phil was just pissed about his double.
06.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSeattle Jake
Seattle Jake, as I see it, the bottom line is not that all the players have the same course. The bottom line for me is that the balance between luck and skill is ruined but such extreme set-ups. Many of these US OPEN course produce winners who are not clearly the best or most skilled. They are, instead, merely the luckiest - the last man standing.

I have to add that this year was not even close to the worst case of Mike davis's excesses. Rose is a deserving champion. But Phil was right about the 274-yard par-3 with no realistic lay-up opportunity. It's too difficult, and ceases to be golf as we know it. Call it as Norman did: "Carnival Golf."
06.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn P
274 into the wind...the best players in the world playing that same course...and if they can't really get it there, sounds like a short par-4 to me.

Sneaky guy that Mr Davis....I bet he's rubbing his hands with glee after no one finished in the theoretical red for the week. Mission accomplished USGA. It was kinda fun watching em walk a tightrope this week...painful for them but makes for great bread/circuses for us goyim.
06.17.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
when phil decided to leave driver out of the bag he didnt reckon on the par 3s!
06.17.2013 | Unregistered Commenterthailand neil
It wasn't only Phil. You could clearly hear Mahan complaining immediately after his shot on 3 about the hole being set up too long to reach it. And Hunter DID hit Driver. Does anyone know who many players hit #3 in regulation during the final round?
06.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRyan
Rose hit the 3rd in reg - nuff said.
06.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterIvan Morris
@ Bob in Hanoi, and everyone else that thinks the #3 hole set up was acceptable, the point is when you have a 274 yard hole, par 3 or par 4, and it is all carry and nothing but over-the-ankle rough or sand surrounding the green, what kind of strategy can a player employ? Great golf holes provide options for players, In a great golf hole, the player can employ a strategy as to hit an iron, a fw wood,, driver, whatever he thinks best suits his game in order to play the hole successfully -- see "Buffalo Billy, 1959 - The #3 hole, and #18 to a great extent, did not even remotely offer options. Bang it, or else. Just saying, not must strategy in the hole at 274 yards, par 3 or a par 4, it doesn't matter. AS for Pinehurst 2014, another Davis / USGA debacle with back-to-back Men's and Women's' Opens played on the same course. How do you think the women would like to play Merion this week after what the golf course in Philly just went through? Won't be pretty. Davis is not half as smart as he thinks he is. Otherwise he would be summa cum laude.
I'm all for providing the players with a good and proper test of their skills, but when 146 players play the 18th on the weekend and not a single birdie is made, that's proof enough to me that the set-up was over the edge.
06.17.2013 | Unregistered Commenterrgw
@ rgw Exactly/ If so many say, "Par is irrelevant", then why is the USGA trying so hard to protect it? Make every hole a Par 2 and they can have their cake and eat it too. The lowest score will always win, that is a given. But why they like to manufacture conditions is beyond me.
Bash Mike Davis on set up. Fine. 3 was fairly ridiculous there is no question. It was a mistake.

Now for those bashing Mike Davis for his ego etc., show of hands how many of ou have ever met and spoken with the man? In my interactions with him, he has been nothing but gracious, engaging, and his love for the game is obvious.

He didn't create the equipment problem. He inherited it. You should be giving him some credit because he basically staked his job onbringing the Open back to MGC.

So 3 was a problem. OK. It's not evidence of a character deficit.
06.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRose
Merion's 3rd - the first-ever driveable Par 3.
06.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
@Rose, as one of the main Davis bashers I can tell you I have met him. Very nice fella but that has nothing to do with his ego. He is single handed the man responsible for coming into these classic venues, all of them designed by legends. These courses don't need to be altered by a guy who thinks he is smarter than Donald Ross or Hugh Wilson or Tillinghast. I have seen first hand changes that he was solely responsible for, changes that did not need to be made. Are the professional players spoiled? Absolutely. But do they want a real test to determine their US Open champion? Absolutely. They just don't want some guy to come in and build a tee for no other reason than to be able to put the pros 280 yards away on a par 3, with no mown area in front of the green. Who has that shot? Tiger, Phil, Zach Johnson, and others don't want a pushover. They want to play Merion and Pinehurst and other classic courses the way they were designed to be played, not the way ONE guy thinks they ought to play. Kind of like a referee in a championship game in other sports. They shouldn't determine the winner. Davis shouldn't determine the winner by intruding his overwhelming ego of thinking he knows what is best for everyone in the game of golf. These great courses will bring us great champions. The final score should be determined by the course, not one guy. Aso, his comment earlier in the week on the length of the fairways and how they did that to contribute to golf's sustainability effort is beyond laughable. I walked across the fairways, they were mown as tight as any I have ever seen--ask Tiger and the others who chili-dipped shots off them.
06.17.2013 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv

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