You can chalk it up to sour grapes or a legitimate beef, but Justin Rose didn’t bite his tongue during the European team’s post-match press conference. When asked about Hazeltine and how the course held up for the matches, Rose complimented the track, saying it “can be as tough as you want it to be,” but then uncharacteristically reversed course when describing how the PGA of America set up the holes.
“I think if we were all to be honest about it, I thought the setup was incredibly weak,” he said. “I thought it was very much a pro-am feel in terms of the pin placements. They were all middle of the green.”
As Rose was giving his explanation, many other players on the panel, including Rory McIlroy, were nodding in agreement.
“We want to showcase our skills. We want to be tested,” Rose continued. “For example, the water holes out there, all the pins were as far away from the water as possible. I mean, the pin on 17 is an absolute joke. It’s a 9-iron into the middle of the green and you stiff it. So with the match on the line, you kind of feel like … you want a player to step up a little bit more than they have to.”
Whether or not Rose’s individual play should have any bearing on the validity of the statement, it’s hard to take criticism from a guy who called the course too easy and then went out and shot one-under par.