RORY McILROY was named among a group of stars ready to boycott the US Open over a series of fiascos.
And one top golfer warned the threat still exists, saying US Golf Association chiefs cannot afford another disaster when the event is staged at Pebble Beach next month.
The unidentified golfer, described as a multiple PGA Tour winner, was quoted in Golf Digest: “If they f*** up Pebble Beach, I can see players not going back. That’s America’s St Andrews.”
Discussions about a player boycott first took place after the USGA were savaged over a controversial penalty imposed on eventual winner Dustin Johnson at Oakmont in 2016.
The American — who was also said to be in favour of ‘strike action’ — was told he was likely to be punished because his ball moved before he took a putt on the fifth green.
He then had to play the rest of the final round ‘in limbo’ before the USGA announced a one-shot penalty AFTER the event was over.
It followed a string of controversial course set-ups according to players who spoke to Golf Digest on condition they would not be named.
One said: “We had about ten to 15 guys who were willing to sit out after 2016.
“Some of them were big names — Dustin was one, Rory was another.”
‘WITHOUT US THEY DON’T HAVE A TOURNAMENT’
The Johnson farce came just a year after the greens at Chambers Bay in Washington state were likened to “putting on broccoli” by Henrik Stenson.
Last year’s US Open at Shinnecock Hills was also slammed when the USGA admitted they “went too far” in toughening it up. Phil Mickelson lost his cool and hit his ball while it was still moving, to prevent it running off the super-slick greens.
Golf Digest quoted two Major champs, one of them a ‘former world No 1’ — which could apply to both McIlroy and Johnson — saying they were “absolutely” prepared to join a boycott.
Another player said: “I figure we needed about 25 guys and could have gotten there based on what I was hearing.
“Just one would have done it but Tiger Woods wasn’t playing at the time. Without us, they don’t have a tournament.”
Meanwhile, English golfer Bronte Law sealed a wire-to-wire win at the Pure Silk Championship in Virginia for her first LPGA Tour success.
The Stockport golfer, 24, is now one of the favourites to win the Women’s US Open in Charleston starting on Thursday.
She carded a final-round four-under-par 67 to clinch a two-shot win and a £153,000 first prize.
Fellow English star Charley Hull raced on to the final green to spray her with shaving cream!
Law said: “I’m absolutely ecstatic — but I was still finding bits of shaving cream all over my body hours later!”
Turkish Airlines now operate daily flights from Gatwick to the golf hub of Antalya — and carries golf clubs free.