Rose labels Hazeltine's Sunday setup 'incredibly weak'

Justin Rose described the course setup for the final day of the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine on Sunday as "incredibly weak", a claim refuted by his American opponent Rickie Fowler.

Europe went down 17-11 in Minnesota to lose the Ryder Cup for the first time since 2008.

And while the majority of Darren Clarke's players demonstrated admirable sportsmanship in congratulating their conquerors, Olympic gold medallist Rose suggested the organisers of the biennial transatlantic event had left the venue defenceless for the decisive round.   

"Setup-wise, this course can be as tough as you want it to be, there's no doubt about it," he said of the Robert Trent Jones-designed layout, which hosted the U.S. Open in 1970 and 1991 and the US PGA Championship in 2002 and 2009.

"I think today, I think if we were all to be honest about it, I thought the setup was incredibly weak. I thought it was very much a Pro-Am feel in terms of the pin placements. They were all middle of the green.

"I don't quite understand that to be honest with you, world-class players, 12 world-class players here and 12 world-class players [on Team USA], and we want to showcase our skills. 

"We want to be tested. For example, the water holes out there, all the pins were as far away from the water as possible.

"I mean, the pin on 17 is an absolute, you know, a joke. It's a nine iron into the middle of the green and you stiff it. So with a match on the line, you kind of feel like you want to have something - you want a player to step up a little bit more than they have to.

"Even 18, if you hit a good drive down there, you've got a wedge into the green, and if you hit a wedge to the middle of the green, you're within 12 foot of the pin. So I just felt coming down the stretch, it was a little soft."

Rose did not make a birdie after the eighth hole as Fowler defeated the Englishman 1up in a tight contest.

And the American disagreed with the 36-year-old's withering assessment of the pin placements. 

"The setup was, I don't think it was easy by any means," Fowler said.

"Him and I didn't play as well as we would have liked to. We didn't make many birdies on both sides. I felt like it was an even match between the two of us. Obviously, as you could see, no one was ever more than 1up.

"It was easier for some; this guy next to me, he made a few birdies," he added, referring to Phil Mickelson, who went low in a gripping shootout with Sergio Garcia.

"He's been playing well all week. I wouldn't say that the setup was easy, by any means.

"Obviously when it comes down to singles, it's fair. Everyone's playing the same ones. So I thought it was a good setup today and it worked out just fine for us."

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