US Open chiefs defend rough removal

Four-time major champion Rory McIlroy has dismissed critics of the thick, fescue rough at this week's U.S. Open venue, Erin Hills. "I think that they're looking for a really exciting championship that they'd like to be tough but fair".

PGA Tour victor, Kevin Na demonstrated the sheer difficulty of escaping from the native grasses, which had looked set to devour wayward golf balls and lead to potentially high scores. "I remember the closing four holes, and then each hole starts to reappear when I go out and play it [this week]", Spieth said Tuesday.

Easy to get overlooked when you hail from the same nation as Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm but the likeable Spaniard has the tools to pose a threat. Even the first and second cut is another 10 yards on top of that.

"The way it worked out, I feel much better the way I got here", Stricker said Tuesday.

The weather forecast will play a vital role in how the Erin Hills course plays and what the scoring will be like in the 117th US Open.

Regarding complaints about the rough by some of the other 156 players competing this week, Knox said: "There's plenty of room out there". However, the rest of the grass remains in place, and will be a punishing for any player who misses the fairways by a significant distance. But when you actually look at the fairways, they're quite wide and quite generous. It goes in these collection areas and run-offs.

Russell Knox is "feeling good" about his golf ahead of his opening round at the US Open at Erin Hills, Wisconsin. "I didn't feel like my body was restricting me in any way from doing what I wanted to do", he said. If I can get that in my hands more regularly, and I think if the field has to hit driver more, that plays into my hands, too.

"I've played the back nine so far and I like it", added Knox. If one guy pulls out, I'll be in.

The last U.S. Open played without both Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods was 1993.

Indeed, this week's tourney will be just the sixth of the year on the PGA Tour for McIlroy, who had to withdraw from last month's BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour with that second rib injury.

However United States Golf Association chief executive Mike Davis said Wednesday the decision to mow down down the rough was unrelated to feedback from the players and was made in response to heavy rain lashing the course.

The 32-year-old had seen his ball move fractionally as he lined up a putt, but called in the referee walking with his group and was initially cleared of any wrongdoing before holing out for par.

At last year's U.S. Open at Oakmont, Johnson won by three shots for his first major championship despite being hit with a controversial one-shot penalty for the accidental movement of his ball on the fifth green during the final round.