You can imagine my surprise and bemusement when reading the recent article by John Strege from Golf Digest in which Robert Trent Jones Jr. yet again raised my comments about the diabolical condition of Chambers Bay a few years ago during the U.S. Open.
The comments made two years ago about Chambers Bay no doubt were justified. I certainly was not the only one who spoke out about the design or condition of the course. Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Billy Horschel, Sergio Garcia, and many others expressed their distaste for the course and how it was presented. It was no secret the players and fans were unhappy with the setup, condition and inability to walk the course as a spectator.
I wasn’t at Chambers Bay that year randomly. I was invited to celebrate the anniversary of my career Grand Slam victory, which I completed 50 years earlier at the U.S. Open. The only other golfers in this club are Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
For the record, I never even knew Robert Trent Jones was at Sunningdale attending the Senior Open (nor why he would have any reason to attend) and during the Olympics in Rio I approached him directly to try to bury the hatchet. In front of many witnesses he made a big scene and later apologized. Of course, this was accepted by me and I thought we had all moved on. Clearly, he has not and chose to blatantly lie to Golf Digest about what happened.
Whilst he seems to be suffering from either amnesia or senility, I do wish he would come to peace with what happened during the U.S. Open and just get on with his life. It really is time to move on. Enough is enough. I am not responsible for what happened at Chambers Bay. We all make mistakes and simply have to accept the consequences and learn from them.
I had the privilege of spending time with Nelson Mandela who was imprisoned for 27 years and if anyone had a reason to have hatred and revenge in their heart it was him, yet he did not. I advised Mr. Jones in Rio that he should take a leaf out of Mr. Mandela’s book. He has very obviously and sadly not done so.
My very best to the USGA and all those players competing in the U.S. Open this year at Erin Hills. Hopefully this will be the focus and not anything else.