As we enter the final round of the 2023 U.S. Open, the leaderboard is chalk full of big names. Rory McIlroy will play alongside Scottie Scheffler in the penultimate pairing Sunday. They will come before Rickie Fowler and the surprise of the tournament, Wyndham Clark.
Clark, after posting his third straight round in the 60s at the Los Angeles Country Club, met with media to discuss his round. Despite being pleased with how he played Saturday, he couldn’t help but put the USGA on blast.
“It’s a little ridiculous we teed off that late. I would say right around hole 15 or 16 it started getting to where you couldn’t see that well… We played twilight golf… 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,” Clark said visibly frustrated.
Clark and Fowler were not slated to tee off until 3:45pm PT and did not finish until approximately 8pm PT. It sounds like he has a point as it was near dark outside when the interview occurred.
“It definitely was a challenge. 17 and 18… I literally couldn’t see, and we just played off of feel and how Rickie’s putt came in, and then my putt on 18, same thing.”
The first group did not tee off until just after noon on the east coast. They very easily could have moved those tee times up, eliminating this issue.
“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. Hopefully tomorrow we don’t have that issue.” Tell us what you really think Wyndham.
“Definitely Rickie and I had a little bit of a disadvantage on those last two holes playing in the dark… I’ve never really played a final round of any tournament in the dark.”
Just in case you are wondering why Clark or Fowler didn’t call it, he addressed that also.
“Honestly, we both could have called it if we wanted to on that putting green and said, hey, I can’t see, and we’d play tomorrow, and I think that would look pretty poorly on both sides of it.”
Once again, he is right. That would have been a black eye for the USGA if they did not finish in time before darkness. Not when there were hours to play in the morning. But also, it could have created a perception among some fans that the golfers themselves were copping out.
Interestingly, Wyndham Clark is not the only golfer to criticize the USGA this week. Brooks Koepka, Viktor Hovland and reigning U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick have all expressed displeasure, for one reason or another.
Tee times have been released for Sunday and the USGA has indeed moved them up, just over an hour.
Clark and Fowler are slated to tee off at 2:30pm PT. They share the 54-hole lead at 10-under par. McIlroy is one shot back and Scheffler stalking three back. Buckle up, it should be a fun ride.