Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 13th 2013 Contents A67
Thursday, June 13, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Heavy rain---and even hail---scheduled for
today is expected to cause a variety of prob-
lems over the four days at this week s US
Greenstaff at Merion, aided by the United
States Golf Association, have worked overtime
in order to get the historic golf club s East
Course in impressive condition ahead of today s
first round, after around six inches of rain fell
on the course in the week preceding the tour-
But further rainstorms this afternoon---which
could morph into hail and high winds---are
expected to soak the course once again, forcing
staff to repeat their recovery operations on
sodden fairways and perhaps even some flooded
That could force a suspension of play (players
were brought off the course twice in Monday s
deluge), delaying today s late starters into
tomorrow morning and, perhaps, the conclusion
of the second round into the weekend.
The USGA are praying they "get lucky" with
conditions, having just got the greens and fair-
ways approaching optimum speeds in time for
players final practice rounds yesterday.
"Our meteorologist is saying that he doesn t
have a definite," USGA executive director Mike
Davis said, when asked about fears over today s
forecast. "He s looking at models right now,
but it could be from quarter to half an inch
up to two, three inches [of rain].
"It really depends on what hits us or how
lucky or unlucky we are."
He added: "There could be some really high
winds with us, potentially damaging winds,
even some hail. So, again, that s kind of the
worst case scenario. But he is fairly certain
that we are going to have some type of weath-
"But it s going to be probably mid-afternoon
or later, so I think [Thursday] morning we re
Having taken two full days after Monday s
downpour to get back into conditions
approaching firm and fast, the preferred setup
for a US Open, further rain on Thursday would
likely see Merion play soft for the players for
the entirety of the tournament.
That means scoring is likely to be low for
much of the event, especially with dry and
mostly still conditions expected over the final
"If we do get enough rain that would prob-
ably keep us soft the whole way through Sun-
day," Davis added. "Which would mean that
that element of trying to think about what a
golf ball does once it lands [is less of an issue].
When you take that element away from players,
and if we wouldn t have wind, that makes for
ideal scoring conditions."
However, a drying course tends to throw up
a lot of mudballs for players, especially at
Merion---where a number of drives are hit into
uphill landing zones. Players are concerned
about the effect those might have on compe-
tition, with some golfers more susceptible to
them than others.
"The time when you get mud is usually two
days after the rain, when the course starts to
firm up," Stewart Cink said on Tuesday. "There
really is no tried-and-true method for playing
in the mud."
Mud on the ball (which tends to send shots
veering in the opposite direction to where it
lies; so, if mud is on the right-side of the ball,
pros often expect the shot to curve left as
much as 30 yards) makes it almost impossible
to confidently judge approach shots, adding
an unwelcome element of luck to proceed-
On Tuesday, players lobbied the USGA to
consider employing a local rule allowing lift,
clean, and place in the fairways if mudballs
become common, to take luck out of the equa-
"I think mud balls are a problem," Graeme
McDowell said. "I think they re unfair. I think
golf is designed to be played from a closely
mown fairway. If you hit it in that fairway you
deserve a great line and a great opportunity
to attack the green surface. That s the reward
you get for hitting the fairway.
"When [Merion] bakes and tops a little bit,
there s going to be a lot of mud balls.
"I think there s a need for [lift, clean, and
place] at times. I get the fact that the USGA
and the Masters Committee and the R&A, they
don t like giving the golf ball in hand ... because
you can use that rule to your advantage.
"[But] I hope they make the right call. If it s
picking up mud then I think we need to lift,
clean, and place just for a level playing field."
The USGA has traditionally been opposed
to ever initiating such a temporary rule, how-
ever, and that will remain the case this week.
The 113th US Open is due to get underway
at 6.45am this morning.
New storms fear wreaks havoc at US Open
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