As the first group came to the 18th green Friday in the second round of the U.S. Open, two USGA officials stood on carts from 200 yards away and watched them putt.

They were hopeful the back left pin placement on a green that slopes severely to the front was fair.In the end, it was obvious that it wasn't.

"We're not happy with what hap-pened," said USGA executive director David Fay.

Payne Stewart was a little more direct.

"That was borderline ridiculous," he said.

Stewart had an 8-foot birdie putt that would have given him a 69 and a three-stroke lead. His right-to-left putt curled under the hole, and the ball didn't stop rolling until it was 25 feet away.

And Stewart wasn't the only one who cursed the hole position on No. 18. Davis Love III had a 6-foot birdie putt above the hole. As soon as it left the blade, he started walking to the collection area toward the front of the green.

Kevin Wentworth had a 5-foot birdie putt on the 18th which would have assured him making the cut. He, too, three-putted and will be going home this weekend.

And Kirk Triplett perhaps made the boldest statement of all. As his putt started to drift down the slope, he stopped it with his putter. Triplett was assessed a two-stroke penalty and took a triple-bogey 7.

"If they want have a major, we can go to Disney World and play putt-putt," said John Daly, who had a 75 but considered himself fortunate to walk off the 18th with a par.

"Thank God our tour doesn't do that," Daly said. "That was absolutely stupid. We work too hard out there. People on TV have got to think, `These guys are idiots.' "

Ironically, the USGA had considered cutting the hole in that spot during the first round but decided it was too difficult and changed it about two hours into the round before the first group got there.

Fay said to put the hole at the front of the green all four days might lead to battered turf by the weekend. The USGA had planned on putting it up top for one of the first two rounds.