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why were the us open tee times so late

Why were the US Open tee times so late?

Rickie Fowler and Wyndham Clark's US Open third round tee time was set at nearly midnight in the United Kingdom - but was this such a big problem as it was made out to be?
 

Golf fans who follow the PGA Tour outside of America will be well-acclimatised to late nights watching their favourite players.

The 2023 US Open, though, tested even the most keen fanatics to the limits with the third round tee times at Los Angeles Country Club.

Ryan Fox, playing on his own in the first ‘group’, went off at 9.33am local time, which translated to 5.33pm in the United Kingdom.

But Rickie Fowler and Wyndham Clark didn’t get away until 11.40pm here at home – that’s 3.40pm local time before they restarted their quest for major glory.

Why were the tee times so late? Would golf fans outside the States stay up and tune in through the night, or instead succumb to pressurised eyelids?

Should they be the real priority in this scenario?

A USGA representative told NCG the tee times were always planned to allow the organisation to take advantage of a prime time broadcast window on America’s East Coast.

They added the tee times would begin about an hour earlier on Sunday’s final day – to accommodate a trophy ceremony and account for any potential playoff.

why were the us open tee times beginning so late

“It’s a little ridiculous that we teed off that late,” Clark said. “I would say right around hole 15 or 16 it started getting to where you couldn’t see that well.

“I don’t personally understand why we teed off – we played twilight golf. The last two holes I 100 percent think my bogey on 17 was because I couldn’t see, and I think Rickie’s bogey on 18 was because he couldn’t see.

“I’d like to see us go off an hour and a half, two hours earlier. If we had a playoff tomorrow we wouldn’t even be able to play the playoff tomorrow because it was so dark.

“I’m not trying to make an excuse, but it definitely was a challenge. 17 and 18, my putt on 17, I literally couldn’t see it, and we just played off of feel and how Rickie’s putt came in, and then my putt on 18, same thing.

“So it’s kind of tough and it’s crazy to think that we’re doing that on the last two holes of a major when we could have teed off two hours earlier.”

What do our writers think of why the US Open tee times were so late?

But was it fair? NCG’s Matt Chivers and Steve Carroll got stuck into the debate and it won’t surprise you to learn they sat on very different sides of the fence…

The leaders are left twiddling their thumbs, contemplating one of the biggest days of the year

UK golf fans, and golf fans across the planet, let out a collective groan when the tee times for the US Open were released on Saturday morning, writes Matt Chivers.

The last group was to tee off just before midnight UK time. I am only 25-years-old, but I doubt even beyond my lifespan that many other golf fanatics can remember such a late start at a major event.

I remember the 2015 US Open at Chambers Bay seeing the leaders off at 11pm at home, but in my foolish youth, I kept reasonably calm and carried on – with occasional naps.

These tee times were chosen to satisfy the prime time television slot on the East Coast, but fans might still have found this a tough pill to swallow.

Even for the players on site, they might have enjoyed the lie-in, but they were left to twiddle their thumbs and contemplate major glory as the hours slowly ticked away.

Rickie Fowler and Wyndham Clark teed off at 3.40pm local time. Both felt they were racing against the darkness to finish their round.

From a selfish point of view, I imagine many golf fans in the UK didn’t even bother watching the leaders play more than four holes – some may have just slept and then woke up to what’s happened this morning.

It’s a world game – tee times won’t always suit us in the UK

Though it might pain everyone in the UK to admit it, Saturday tee times at a major are often on the late side, writes Steve Carroll.

Take the third round of The Open at St Andrews last summer. You might have forgotten that the final twoball of Cameron Young and Cameron Smith actually went off at 3.55pm UK time!

At last month’s PGA Championship, Scottie Scheffler and Corey Conners hit their opening shots just a shade before 3pm. Take that into account and the 3.40pm (11.40pm our time) appointment Rickie Fowler and Wyndham Clark had with LA Country Club’s first hole didn’t really seem that unusual – despite the earlier sunsets in California.

As we know, the idea is to hit TV prime time, but anyway, it’s not unusual for the major leaders to enjoy a very leisurely morning and early afternoon.

So why the social media screaming? Because, on this occasion, it doesn’t suit us on this side of the pond and we’re really not used to it.

We forget how blessed we are to be on London time. The PGA Tour gets beamed back to us most weeks in evening prime time, and lots of our big sports just hit a sweet spot as far as the clock is concerned.

It’s a very different story if you’re trying to watch from week to week in other parts of the world. I’ve spent a bit of time in Australia, for example, and it’s very difficult to follow English football – unless you’re either a night owl or prepared to set your alarm for the early hours.

Yes, it would be great if every US Open was held on the East Coast but it’s a national championship and that means going to other parts of the country. Even if it is almost as far west on the compass as it’s possible to go.

We could either suck it up and push on through the night, or press record on our set-top boxes and play catch up this morning!

NOW READ: Justin Thomas ‘humiliated and embarrassed’ after US Open missed cut

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why are the us open tee times so late

Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spoken to the likes of Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Henrik Stenson, to name just a few.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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