Robert Trent Jones Jr on Gary Player rant: "He's kind of a showboater"

Chambers Bay architect reflects on what Gary Player had to say about his design of the 2015 US Open venue.

Andy Roberts's picture
Mon, 5 Jun 2017


We don't know about you, but there was something mildly entertaining about the sight of Tour professionals struggling on the greens like the rest of us when they turned up at the US Open's heavily criticised Chambers Bay course two years ago. 

Henrik Stenson likened the greens to "putting on broccoli", Ian Poulter labelled it "a disgrace", while Justin Rose felt he was playing "outdoor bingo at times."

The list of unapproving feedback comments for course designer Robert Trent Jones Jr's design just kept on coming.

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But the most pointed criticism of Chambers Bay probably came from nine-time major champion Gary Player, 81, who went on Golf Channel on the morning of the third round and teed off on the course and its architect.

“This has been the most unpleasant golf tournament I've seen in my life,” said Player.

“I mean, the man who designed this golf course had to have had one leg shorter than the other. It’s hard to believe you see a man miss the green by one yard and the ball ends up 50 yards down in the rough.”

Two years down the line as the world braces itself for the debut of Erin Hills and the 2017 US Open, what does Jones have to say about Player's rant? Quite a lot, actually. 

“Gary Player wasn’t playing in the tournament,” said Jones.

“I think Gary Player, as we all know him, is kind of a showboater. For whatever reason he chose to make those comments.


“I saw him at Sunningdale, at the Pro-Am dinner for the Senior British Open [the following month]. He’s always honored there. I was at the next table. I caught his eye, and he turned away from me. I didn’t choose to talk to him at that location.

“Then at Rio [de Janeiro, for the Olympic Games last summer], neither of our teams was the builder of course, but I chose to be there for the team. At that particular point, he came up to me and said, ‘are you talking to me?’

“‘I am now,’ I said. He apologised.”

The 2015 US Open was won by Jordan Spieth, who was handed the title when Dustin Johnson three-putted for par from around 12 feet at the final hole, missing a short two-foot putt to send the major into extra holes.