Rain Forces Second Round To Be Delayed
By Ken Klavon, USGA
Town and Country, Mo. – As Jay Haas was conveying his feelings about the second round of the U.S. Senior Open being canceled Friday, Leonard Thompson stopped and made a plea.
"Please don't play anymore," said Thompson, bringing a chorus of hearty laughter.
|A course maintenance worker tries to get through water on the 17th crossing, which had been flooded out on Friday. (Steven Gibbons/USGA)
Haas took the ribbing in stride. After all, in just his second senior start, he's now 2 for 2 in events that have resulted in a weather delay. At the Senior PGA Championship held at Valhalla Country Club (Louisville, Ky.) in late May, the tournament endured several weather-related delays.
The USGA made the decision to push the second round into Saturday, and bump the third round to Sunday. The plan calls for 36 holes of golf on Sunday. Those holding second-round tickets can use them either Saturday or Sunday, but not both days.
"Nobody is happy about this turn of events," said Walter Driver, Chairman of the USGA Championship Committee.
Close to 3 inches of rain from Thursday evening into Friday morning saturated the course at Bellerive Country Club. Parts of the surface, especially the seventh and ninth holes, were under water. The fairway on No. 7, which abuts a creek, was fully submerged. Part of the ninth fairway, in addition to bunkers, was teeming with water. And on the third hole, a par 3, the green had turned into an island.
The rain, which dissipated late Friday morning, had been so heavy that crews couldn't even get on the course. Later they could be seen squeegeeing greens and dumping water out of bunkers.
Driver didn't anticipate any major changes being made to the course. Hole locations should remain the same, he said.
Asking the field to play 36 holes on Sunday could prove to be taxing, especially since the forecast calls for temperatures near 90 with high humidity.
"I'm 59 years old and I can do it, so I don't feel we're imposing on them
|Walter Driver addresses the media Friday afternoon. (Steven Gibbons/USGA)
to ask them to play 36 holes," said Driver.
Better-fit players like Haas, Hale Irwin and Tom Kite, for example, probably won't find it to be a problem.
"I thought we'd play, I really did," said Haas, who awoke at 5:25 a.m. to prepare for his second round. "I was surprised.
"As far as whether it's a case of ‘Did I have momentum?' I don't believe in that. You have to play 72 holes."
Haas said the guy he most feels for is first-round leader Peter Jacobsen. Three months ago Jacobsen underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum to his left hip before spending six weeks on crutches. After pulling out of the Ford Senior Players Championship and last week's British Senior Open, he was unsure he could make it through 18 holes on Thursday.
"I don't think he's looking forward to 36," said Haas.
The rain will obviously make the 7,117-yard course softer and play longer, likely requiring more drivers off the tee. Tight fairways will also expand because the ball won't skid as much into the rough.
Thompson said the delay most disrupts rhythm.
In any event, the goal is to avoid having the championship extend into Monday.
"We would like to avoid that if we possibly can," said Driver.
On a separate note Vinny Giles, the 1972 U.S. Amateur champion, withdrew with a sore shoulder. He had shot 12-over 83 in the first round.
Ken Klavon is the USGA Web Editor. E-mail him with questions or comments at email@example.com.