Henrik Stenson, the sixth ranked golfer in the world, has branded Chambers Bay "dangerous" after his caddie and Stephen Gallacher's ended up in hospital because of on-course accidents during the final practice rounds for the US Open.
Stenson's caddie Gareth Lord is expected to appear for round one despite a fall on the 16th hole on Wednesday, which resulted in a heavy strapping being applied to his wrist and a subsequent x-ray. Shortly afterwards, Gallacher's bag man Damien Moore fell when walking in rough on the 6th hole and twisted an ankle. Moore's prospects of appearing for day one at the US Open are regarded as slim after a protective cast was placed on the injury.
Lord and Moore are two of the most experienced and respected caddies in top-level golf. Their incidents highlight what has perhaps been an unacknowledged danger of Chambers Bay; scorched grasses and slopes mean precarious territory for caddies and spectators alike. The caddie fraternity is unlikely to take a positive view towards the US Open set-up, which will place significant physical demands upon them.
Stenson was quick to acknowledge such problems. The Swede said: “It’s tricky out there. You’ve got to be careful. You see that yellow grass laying down? It’s dangerous.”
Stenson told golfweek.com that he had witnessed a particularly bad fall by a scorer during a practice round at the start of US Open week. Unlike players, caddies don’t wear spiked footwear, a move taken to protect greens but which raises questions on weeks such as these.
Gallacher’s management firm paid tribute to the medical assistance and back-up options provided by the USGA. A local caddie has been placed on standby for the Scottish Ryder Cup player, who is due to begin his US Open quest at 2.39pm local time on Thursday.