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Do we like seeing the best in the world struggle at the US Open?

It's the highest-scoring major of the four in the men's game and every year the same debate rages about whether or not the USGA should trick out US Open courses in a bid to protect par. Alex Perry and Matt Chivers weigh in
 

Whether it was the Massacre of Winged Foot in ’74, or the broccoli greens of Chambers Bay in ’15, we’ve seen it all at the United States’ national championship.

But do we enjoy it? Here are our arguments either way…

‘It’s sadism but it’s fine – for one week a year’

There’s a little bit of a sadist in all of us, really, writes Alex Perry. If there wasn’t, we wouldn’t be obsessed with this silly little game of ours.

And the US Open is the one tournament where we get to let that side out and allow ourselves to enjoy watching the very best in the world suffer from the same struggles that you and I do every weekend.

Missed the fairway by a foot? Good luck. Wrongsided yourself on a green? Take your bogey and be thankful.

We see birdie-fests every single week on tour and – while watching the very best to have ever played the sport strut their stuff is why we tune in – for one week of the year at least, it’s a satisfying dose of realism.

But while watching your mate slog round your local on a drizzly Wednesday afternoon is painful to watch, seeing the pros do it can be utterly compelling as they try to mastermind their way to a slightly-over-par finishing score that will see them lift that famous trophy.

Either that or they just have a full Phil-Mickelson-at-Shinnecock meltdown and leave us all with our heads in our hands.

US Open controversy

‘It takes away from the experience’

As reassuring as it can be watching the world’s best thrash away in the thick rough, writes Matt Chivers, you have to question how enjoyable it is to watch from a fan’s point of view.

My favourite players are my favourite players because of their ability to do things I generally can’t – even with something as relatively simple as finding the right part of the fairway, or draining birdie puts regularly. It’s the same reason I watch the Arsenal every week and not the Dog & Duck.

Sure, you want weeks every now and then where the winning scores isn’t in the 20s, but the USGA can take it a bit far with their US Open set-ups and it takes away from the experience.

Take Jordan Spieth’s win at Chambers Bay is still fresh in my mind, not because of the action, but because of the crazy golf course and the bizarre way in which it was presented. We spent more time talking about the course than the action.

There’s testing players, and then there’s humiliating them, and the US Open often treads a fine line between calm and chaos.

I want to see someone lift the trophy because they won it, not because someone else lost it.

Whose side are you on? Let us know on Twitter!

Alex Perry

Alex Perry

Alex has been the editor of National Club Golfer since 2017. A Devonian who enjoys wittering on about his south west roots, Alex moved north to join NCG after more than a decade in London, the last five of which were with ESPN. Away from golf, Alex follows Torquay United and spends too much time playing his PlayStation or his guitar and not enough time practising his short game.

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