London: England golf ace Ian Poulter and his American counterpart Phil Mickelson have vented their rage at the Muirfield playing course, with Poulter calling it a `joke` and `clown face`.
Poulter and Mickelson were the most vocal among the disgruntled golf aces criticising the set-up of the major championship course during the 142nd Open Championship, and particularly objected to pin placements on slopes.
Spewing his rage on Twitter after a round of 72, one over par, Poulter wrote that the 8th hole is a joke and the 18th needed a windmill and a clown face, adding that many players would struggle with a few pin positions during the afternoon.
However, Poulter said that he `rested his case` as he returned to social media after golf`s reigning champion Tiger Woods putted off the 14th green in the early evening, and praised Woods, adding that the best putter that has ever played the game has just putted off.
Similarly critical, Mickelson, who lies two under par, said that the greens are dying and the holes are on edges of slopes where it is difficult to make the ball stay, and slammed the Royal and Ancient Golf Club (R and A) to let go of their ego and set the course up the way in which the best players can win.
Stating that he has not much enjoyed the experience of playing at Muirfield, the Scottish Open winner was irritated with the number of people walking on fairways behind or alongside him and by the appearance of television crews in golf buggies.
Stating that there is a difference in culture between Scotland and US, Mickelson also said that in the US, there is only a few people inside the rope unlike at Muirfield and also expressed his indignation at being almost run over by a cart four or five times on the front nine.
Defending the course, R and A chief executive Peter Dawson said that they have the ideal conditions at Muirfield- hard, fast and running, adding that they have set up the course to test the players` course management strategy as much as anything.
Stating that the body is happy with the current scoring of the players, Dawson however, said that he is aware of and will look into the grievances of Poulter and Mickelson, although he added that they are still satisfied that the course is playable but very testing.
In response to the heatwave which had rendered the course so firm, greens staff have watered the course in the evenings immediately leading up to the start of competitive play, the report added.