Weather, Logistics Create Concern At U.S. Open; More Rain Expected Thursday
The U.S. Open tees off Thursday at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., and the event is “fraught with logistical concerns,” according to Jason Sobel of GOLFCHANNEL.com. One concern is “the fact that competitors will need to be shuttled from the practice range on the West Course to starting tees on Nos. 1 and 11 on the East Course, both of which are about a mile down the road.” Players have been “asked to get into a shuttle van at least 20 minutes before their tee time in order to avoid missing it.” But a “very real possibility exists that a player could miss his tee time and be disqualified because of a logistical issue” (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 6/10). Golf Channel's Arron Oberholser noted players who have participated in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach "know how to deal with this kind of situation, and I don’t foresee anybody being late for their tee time this week.” But Golf Channel’s Notah Begay said, “It is going to present some logistical issues for some of the players, especially when a lot of them border on obsessive-compulsive when it comes to their schedules” (“Live From the U.S. Open,” Golf Channel, 6/11). GOLF.com’s Michael Bamberger wrote allowing for “pedestrian traffic and various bits of commotion, the players can expect the elapsed time from the practice tee to the first tee to be at least 25 minutes.” It is “really no big deal, except for the fact that it’s unusual, and the phrase ‘creatures of habit’ was invented for Tour players” (GOLF.com, 6/10).
RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY: In Philadelphia, Marcus Hayes writes under the header, "Open Could Still Be Damp Fine Tournament." Rain yesterday “closed one of the tournament holes for the day and might have closed one of the parking lots for good.” But USGA officials and course staffers “offered assurances that, if the forecast holds, the tournament would be relatively unaffected.” They “quashed whispers of emergency plans that included using holes on Merion's West course” (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 6/11). Golf Channel's Lauren Thompson reports USGA Exec Dir Mike Davis "remains confident that a doomsday scenario will not be the case." Davis claims Merion is "possibly the best when it comes to draining excess water and that moisture on the greens would simply create the need for hole locations at the highest levels” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 6/11). ESPN.com’s Bob Harig wrote the 11th hole, a “short par-4 at the lowest part of the course, has been so problematic over the years” that USGA officials have “taken the drastic step of having two holes on Merion's West Course available to use in case the 11th green is flooded.” A crew of “more than 20 people worked on the hole throughout” the day yesterday. Davis: “This golf course is not built on sand, but it is maybe the best draining golf course I have ever seen” (ESPN.com, 6/10). In Chicago, Teddy Greenstein reports showers yesterday morning “prevented practice rounds from beginning until” 10:58am ET. Storms “resurfaced in the afternoon, leading to a suspension of play” at 3:01pm. By mid-afternoon, the merchandise tent “had sold all 2,000 of its umbrellas,” and “more rain is expected” today and Thursday (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/11).