US Womens Open in a Fog

By Associated PressJune 29, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 U.S. Womens OpenNEWPORT, R.I. -- Michelle Wie stood on the balcony of the stately clubhouse at Newport Country Club, which ordinarily offers a spectacular view on a century-old golf course that juts into the Atlantic Ocean.
Thursday afternoon, she was lucky to see 180 yards away to the fifth green.
Jill McGill
Players like Jill McGill never made it past the range on Thursday.
The U.S. Women's Open dodged the rain, but ran into weather that left the players feeling even more hopeless -- a soupy fog that limited visibility to 75 yards along the ocean holes and wiped out the first round.
It was the first time since the 2003 Masters that the start of a major was postponed one day. The USGA could not remember that ever happening at the U.S. Women's Open, or any of its championships.
'It's unusual to get fog where you're delayed or you can't play all day long,' said Mike Davis, senior director of rules and competition.
The first round was rescheduled for Friday, followed by the second round Saturday. Davis said there would be a 36-hole Sunday, the first time that's happened at the U.S. Women's Open since 1990 at Atlanta Athletic Club, where Betsy King overcame an 11-shot deficit early on the last day to beat Patty Sheehan.
Wie and former Women's Open champions Juli Inkster and Meg Mallon were among those were supposed to tee off Thursday morning, and instead spent nearly 10 hours at Newport waiting to tee off.
'It just got worse and worse,' Wie said. 'I just took this day to relax; I just chilled.'
The 16-year-old from Hawaii, who once said nap time was her favorite part of kindergarten, said she dozed off for 30 minutes at one point but 'I was scared I might fall asleep and miss my tee time.'
Play originally was suspended 30 minutes, and then announcements followed about every half-hour. The practice range was packed with players anticipating a 3 p.m. start when word spread that the first round was called off.
'There's been a reversal,' Meg Mallon called out to the other players. 'The late groups go early tomorrow.'
She was joking, but only barely. Mallon woke up at 5 a.m. Thursday to get ready for her 7:22 a.m. tee time. She was headed back to her hotel in the afternoon so she could do it all over again.
'I would rather have finished today so I could have a full day of rest,' she said. 'But there's nothing we can do. I'm just thankful I didn't have to play in a driving rain if that's what was supposed to follow the fog.'
Davis said rain was in the forecast Thursday night, although 'we haven't been right to this point.' Newport already is saturated from 13 inches of rain over the last six weeks, and a half-dozen holes were made shorter for the first round to account for a 6,564-yard course that would play even longer in soft, windy conditions.
The only length that came into play Thursday was waiting around.
Wendy Ward was in the first group to tee off at 7 a.m., and as she returned to the range in the afternoon, she said to no one in particular, 'This is the third time I've hit balls today. I usually don't do that in a week.'
U.S. Women's Amateur champion Jane Park came into the media center at 7 a.m. to visit with USGA officials and kill time, and she bounced between the range, the putting green and the clubhouse.
Perhaps too much time in the clubhouse.
'I did a lot of eating, chatting, some more eating, a little more chatting, a lot more eating,' said Park, who just finished her freshman year at UCLA. 'Those lemon meringue things were good.'
She also caught up with Wie, Brittany Lang and Paula Creamer, her teammates from the 2004 Curtis Cup.
Virada Nirapathpongporn also was in the first group off the first tee, and the only bright spot was seeing her name on the leaderboard, even though there were no scores posted next to her name.
'But I couldn't always see the board,' she said with a laugh, alluding to the shroud of fog.
Even away from the ocean, the visibility was about 140 yards when the fog was at its worst. The USGA considered starting Thursday afternoon when players could see some 300 yards, but it wasn't long before the dense fog returned. Davis said players had to be able to see landing areas for their tee shots and the flag as they approached the green, and that was never the case on the back nine.
Wie was never too bothered, and was glad to be going home.
'There were always rain delays in the U.S. Amateur,' she said. 'You have to expect it in the summer in the Northeast.'
This is the first professional major at Newport, one of the five founding clubs of the USGA, since it held the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Open one day apart in 1895, the first two majors held in the United States. The other major event was 100 years later, when Tiger Woods won the second of his three straight U.S. Amateur titles.
So one tradition will continue at Newport -- its other final days were all 36 holes.
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    Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

    Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

    Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

    In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

    Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

    “I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

    Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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    Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

    In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.

    Made Cut

    Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

    Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

    “If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

    McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

    “The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    September can’t get here quick enough.

    Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

    There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

    In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.

    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

    “I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

    The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

    Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

    Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

    The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

    The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

    “My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.

    Missed Cut

    Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

    After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

    It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

    Tweet of the week:

    It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

    The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”