Clint Rice Comments on Chamber’s Bay US Open Practice Round


Two days ago alternate player Clint Rice reportedly had his clubs confiscated during practice for the US Open being held in Chambers Bay.  This report has since been updated and on Thursday, 9:06 p.m. ET: USGA officials said Thursday that they did not confiscate Clint Rice's clubs, but were asked by Rice to take them back to the clubhouse

USGA chief Mike Davis made headlines a few weeks ago when he said that U.S. Open success would come only to those who became extremely familiar with Chambers Bay. Those showing up and only playing a couple practice rounds will not fare well.

Clint Rice was out for a casual practice round Tuesday with fellow Aussie Geoff Ogilvy, trying to gather course knowledge until his clubs were taken by a USGA official on the 13th hole.

Rice, No. 1188 in the Official World Golf Ranking, is an alternate after attempting to qualify last week in Ohio. Alternates are not allowed to play a practice round although they are allowed to use all tournament practice facilities.

He was attempting to play a practice round when an official walked out onto the course and took his clubs away after four holes.  There is a somewhat odd rule that states that alternates are permitted to use the practice facilities if on site before the tournament begins, but they should not take to the course.  It has long been felt that it is unfair, as players of the course could ultimately end up in a spot that they are unfamiliar with.

Rice, a Tasmanian who is based in Chicago, is a RoboGolfPro instructor and mainly focuses on teaching, walked the remainder of the of the front nine.  When most people might have had one excuse or comment to say once being reunited with their club and bags Rice had no comment.

This set the world stage of golf news and media into a frenzy. When asked for a comment by media Rice simply replied "No comment", and all of the descriptions of his demeanor was that he was content and not visibly angry.

You would think that such a public incident might cause a crack in anyone's personality, but Clint Rice played this particular public relation round perfectly.  He became an internet sensation.  Clint's name is now synonymous with the Chambers Bay US Open.    

Our team at RoboGolfPro had the opportunity to speak to Clint about this particular situation while he was at the US Open in Chambers Bay  yesterday.  Since Clint is an instructor in Chicago on the RoboGolfPro, we had his number so we called him up to get his comments on the event.

Clint Rice's focus yesterday was on the game of golf and possibly getting the opportunity to play.  Once again, if he felt the urge to say anything about the rules or the incident, he kept it to himself  and simply said

"Excuses fall silent, behind self-control, focus, and direction.  My focus today is on preparing to have a good day on the Chambers Bay course". 

The media could have spent more time focussing on the rules and if there was an intentional misstep, but they didn't.  It seems that the focus was more on the fact that Clint was a perfect sportsman and took the public event in stride.

It is instances like that that put the heart back into sport, and might bring attention to changing certain rules that many think need to be reevaluated.