Zach Johnson claims USGA lost control of the course on day three at US Open


Zach Johnson has criticised the condition of the Shinnecock Hils course after his third-round 72 at the US Open

Zach Johnson claimed the USGA had “lost the golf course” as he hit out at the conditions during the third round of the US Open at Shinnecock Hills.

The tournament organisers famously came under fire after a brutally difficult final day at the same venue in 2004, when they were forced to water the seventh green in between groups after short putts from JJ Henry and Kevin Stadler ended up in a greenside bunker.

Earlier this week Phil Mickelson, who finished runner-up to Retief Goosen 14 years ago, warned the USGA of the need to avoid the “carnival golf” that dominated the headlines in the aftermath of the South African’s win.

But after firing a creditable two-over 72 to close on eight over, Johnson insisted there was a likelihood of history repeating itself and apologised to the spectators for the “carnage” on the course.

“We’re not on the edge,” said the two-time major champion. “I thought we could be on the edge but we’ve surpassed it, and now it’s pretty much gone. It’s unfortunate because in my opinion this is one of the best venues in all of golf.

“It’s as good as it gets. Shinnecock Hills is beautiful but unfortunately they’ve lost the golf course.

“I feel for the membership right now because a lot of them are really good friends of mine. I feel for the spectators who are seeing absolute carnage, unless they want to, I don’t know if that’s their intent!

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“I also feel for the USGA because I don’t feel that was their overall intent from the very beginning, but when it comes to things that have happened in the past you’ve got to err on the side of a conservative approach and that wasn’t done today.”