Ian Poulter: Claimed some pin positions at Muirfield were "a joke"
Open Championship organisers have come under fire from a number of players unhappy with the set-up of Muirfield for the opening round.
The recent spell of hot weather has led to fast, hard fairways and even slicker greens at the East Lothian links, but the likes of Ian Poulter and Phil Mickelson felt the course was dangerously close to being out of control.
Poulter dropped four shots in the last five holes to return a disappointing 72 before lambasting the R&A for some "joke" pin placements, while Mickelson urged the tournament officials to "let go of their ego" after he fired a 69.
On his Twitter account, Poulter wrote: "Unfortunately the guys this afternoon will struggle with a few pin positions. 8th hole is a joke, 18th needs a windmill & clown face."
Former champion Stewart Cink also wrote on Twitter: "Muirfield greens really baking out in the sun. Keep an eye on #8, #9, and #16-18. Overall the greens are the fastest I've seen in the Open."
R&A chief executive Peter Dawson insisted on Wednesday that Muirfield was the best prepared Open course in 14 years, although he admitted watering was necessary to keep it "alive".
Mickelson three-putted the 18th to slip to two under, but he was grateful to get his round over and done with before conditions worsened in the afternoon sun.
"Number eight is probably the worst one that you'll see," said the left-hander, winner of last week's Scottish Open title in cool and blustery conditions at Castle Stuart.
"The ball won't stop on the eighth until it collects in a little level area about eight feet away. Very difficult conditions and playing early gave us at least a fighting chance.
"I love the fact that I shot under par, because it's a very challenging course out there. I don't expect anybody to beat the lead from the morning wave, I just don't think it's possible.
"Hopefully the R&A will let go of their ego and set it up reasonable on Friday, but you just never know."