ERIN, WISCONSIN – Kevin Na likes Erin Hills.
He really does.
That brush fire of controversy Na created earlier this week when he posted a video about how deep and penalizing the fescue off the fairways at Erin Hills can be?
All in good fun but with a dose of criticism running through it.
Though USGA officials said they did not trim back some of the thickest fescue in response to any social-media pressure – that’s their story and they’re sticking to it – Na felt vindicated when the mowers came out before the tournament.
“I think they made the right call,” Na said after shooting 4-under-par 68 Thursday afternoon.
“Some of the guys took my social-media post kind of the wrong way. If you read my post, it says I love the design. I was just trying to show what we have in some spots. And the fairways are generous. I said all that but I guess people don’t like to read.”
As fate – or an errant tee shot – would have it, Na found himself in the fescue at the seventh hole Thursday. He was just a yard or so into the tangle of grass and considered trying to play from there.
He asked his caddie for a wedge and the caddie talked him out of it. Na took a one-stroke penalty, dropped out of the fescue and managed to salvage a bogey.
Na said he has no regrets about the video.
“I had fun,” he said. “There were a lot of guys supporting me out there. They got a kick out of it.
“A lot of players were saying thank you, they mowed the fescue because of me. (And) hey, can you tell them the course is too long, they’ll move up the tees. The players get it – and I had a good time.”