It may be time for Kevin Na to get out of the “fake news” business.
Na started off the championship at Erin Hills on Thursday with a stellar 4-under-par 68, then addressed all the pre-championship hubbub around a video he posted during a practice round about the fescue rough.
“I think some people took my social-media post kind of the wrong way,” said Na of the 44-second video, which most viewers considered a rant. “If you read my post, it says I love the design. I was just trying to show what we have in some spots. And fairways are generous. I said all that.
“But I guess people don't like to read,” he added with a laugh.
As he told golfchannel.com on Wednesday, “It was meant to be funny. I was just trying to show the fans the rough, and what we have inside the ropes, because people don’t get to see that close up. … I think if I had laughed about it during the video instead of making it more like the news, I think people would have got a better kick out of it, maybe.”
Na reiterated his favorable view of the course after his round on Thursday.
“It’s a good design. It’s a long golf course, but the shorter hitters somewhat have a chance, because you've got to keep it out of the fescue. … I drove it great today and I think that was the key to a good round.”
Na had another chuckle when asked about the player reaction to his video and the fact that the USGA trimmed some sections of fescue after heavy rain fell early this week.
“A lot of players were saying thank you, they mowed the fescue because of me,” Na said. “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.”
Asked if he had any regrets about making the video, Na shook his head.
“The thing that I didn’t like was people made it sound like I don’t enjoy the U.S. Open,” said Na, who is competing in it for the eighth time. “I love the U.S. Open. I’m honored to be here, happy to be here. I love it, and I think we’re going to have a great week.”
Ron Driscoll is the manager of editorial services for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.