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U.S. Open 2015: Jack Nicklaus Tells Everyone To Quit the Crybaby Bullshit About the Course

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The first round of the 2015 U.S. Open will be played Thursday, but the days leading up to the main event have been fraught with drama. We’re talking about the kind of hilariously manufactured drama that could only exist in golf, because it exists naturally in most team sports.

Over the last week many players have taken issue with the course at Chambers Bay, Washington, the site of this year’s tournament. One of the most vocal critics has been PGA pro Ryan Palmer, the 38-year-old grandson of the great Arnold Palmer, who, unlike his grandfather, sucks at golf.

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Built just eight years ago near scenic Puget Sound, just south of Tacoma, the course is substantially newer than many of the traditional locations for Majors. Palmer’s concerns extend well beyond youth though, which he explained in a foot-stomped, red-faced snit fit earlier this week.

“As far as the greens are concerned, it’s not a championship golf course. Not with the way some of the greens are and the pin placements they can put out there. [Their] idea of tee boxes is ridiculous. That’s not golf. I don’t care what anybody says. It will get a lot of bad press from the players. It is a joke. I don’t understand it. I just don’t know why they would do it.”

Palmer is a true testament to just how far nepotism can get you in this world. It doesn’t matter that he’s a middle-aged golfer whose game is mediocre on its best days, and his very existence is a growing stain on Arnold Palmer’s legacy, he still gets to play on the PGA Tour and scream and cry when the course doesn’t meet his own personal approval.

Palmer should conserve his energy and focus on the various excuses he’ll give to the media after he fails to make the cut. Actually never mind, now is probably his moment, since would’ve missed the cut either way and the media cares more about the bowel movements of Tiger Woods than Palmer’s career of dropping deuces.

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To be fair to Palmer, although it’s probably too late for that, he wasn’t the only player to express concern about course conditions. Obscenely rich and irritatingly British, Ian Poulter called the conditions a “complete farce,” which is hilarious for two reasons. The first being he had yet to even lay eyes on the course when he made that statement. The second is that, much like drunken sideshow John Daly, Poulter has a reputation for dressing like an absolute clown.

Poulter added dryly, “I guess someone has to win.” Honestly, it might not have been dryly, that’s just an assumption based on his Englishness and nothing else. Either way though, you have to appreciate a clown calling out a farce—that’s just fun stuff.

Suddenly surly Swede Henrik Stenson called it a “tricked-up links course,” and like everyone else, seems to be directing his disdain at USGA executive director Mike Davis.

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Not only is Davis responsible for the course’s set up, he also rubbed some folks the wrong way last month when he pretty much implied many golfers phone it in and expect to compete after two practice rounds, being overly reliant on their caddies and yardage books. He then made a promise: “That person’s done [and] will not win the U.S. Open.”

Pretty tough talk coming from an executive like Davis, especially considering it was completely unnecessary and made it seem like had an ax to grind with someone…maybe everyone?

Former U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson said, “We’ll play for second,” sarcastically in response to Davis’ diatribe. Rory McIlory added, “What’s Mike Davis’ handicap?” for good measure.

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Despite all the bitching and bemoaning about Chambers Bay, there are at least a few players who didn’t accept an invitation to the pity party. All-time great Jack Nicklaus actually spoke up about the chorus of complaints, stepping in and chastising them like only a really old man could.

Nicklaus noted that players had more than enough time ahead of the tournament to familiarize oneself with the course and said it’s a golfer’s responsibility to “learn about the golf course and play it.” Nicklaus said that in his day he immediately discounted complainers as weaklings and losers he wouldn’t have to worry about.

Hale Irwin, another great from the era, echoed the sentiment, “Rather than get up in arms, shouldn’t guys just go out and play and let the best man win?”

There are at least two guys who have been embracing that philosophy. Having both made pre-tournament trips to get a feel for the course, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have been practicing for days and neither found time to whine to the media. In fact, Mickelson is quite pleased with the challenge and the change of scenery.

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“I think it’s wonderful,” Mickelson said. “It’s not going to be your typical U.S. Open, hit and hack out of tough. You’re going to be able to control it much more like British Opens than I’ve ever seen, where there’s a lot of room [to hit it] and a lot of firm fairway cut.”

It should be noted Mick’s last major came at the 2013 Open Championship, which was played at the Muirfield Golf Links in Gullane, Scotland. No wonder he’s so enthused about the course! Advantage: Mickelson.

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