USGA helpless as deluge hits New York

By Associated PressJune 18, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 U.S. OpenFARMINGDALE, N.Y. ' About an hour after U.S. Open play was suspended Thursday, a course worker gingerly worked his way across Bethpage Blacks flooded 18th green to remove the flag, futilely trying to avoid leaving footprints.
A few yards away in a swale, wind whipped up waves on a green-long swath of water, exposing the top of a players white ball marker.
Back down the fairway in the soggy landing area, a yellow drainage hose bisected meandering ribbons of standing water.
Believe it or not, as much rain as this course has taken, it drains beautifully, with really the exception of that area down in 18 fairway, said Jim Hyler, the chairman of the USGAs championship committee.
In a low-lying area just beyond the large bunker complex that lines the right side of the fairway, a nearly 2-foot deep pond left the few remaining spectators with little choice but to trudge along the narrow muddy bank.
The players had a lot to negotiate, too.
The issue there is if a player hits their drive, the balls embedded, Hyler said. So under the rules you can lift your ball. You drop it as close as you can to the indentation. So then you take relief from casual water. And how far do you have to go to get complete relief? And the player may very well decide to play it right there, even though theyre in casual water. Because complete relief could be 50 yards away.
Hyler bristled at the mere thought of allowing players to use preferred lies on the fairways, a regular practice on the PGA Tour.
Lift, clean and place is about mud on the ball, Hyler said. If youre getting mud on the ball, the tours will play lift, clean and place. Here were not faced with the issue of necessarily mud on the ball. And we just dont play lift, clean and place. If it gets that bad, were going to suspend.
Jeff Brehaut, tied for the lead at 1-under, was in the only group that completed the 411-yard, par-4 closing hole. Playing with J.P. Hayes and Greg Kraft in the first group off the 10th tee, Brehaut hit a creative shot on 18 to set up a two-putt par.
It was OK from the wetness standpoint when I was playing it, Brehaut said. I had an OK lie, but it was one of these lies where it probably called for a 5-iron, but I didnt think I could get enough hit on a 5-iron.
I was telling my caddie, dont laugh at me, but Im going to take out my 3-rescue and Im going to choke it down and play a big slice and chop at it. It had a big old carve up there and it went 25 feet behind the hole.
Mike Davis, the USGA director in charge of course setup, watched helplessly as more than an inch of rain on the soaked layout further derailed his plans.
It is rather frustrating, the second U.S. Open here and we had a rather wet, soft U.S. Open last time, Davis said. This course, if you come out here most of the time, plays beautifully firm, because it does sit on kind of a sandy loam soil. So its very frustrating that were not really getting to see the true Bethpage.
The sandy soil is a big advantage in rainy conditions.
As bad as it looks right now on camera, Davis said, if this was a course on heavier soil or clay, I think wed be real worried right now. Not that were not worried, but I think that its nice to be on this type of course.
Davis also pointed to the second green as a trouble spot.
I would say theres a few other greens on the course, such as the second hole, which does tend to puddle up a little bit more than other greens, Davis said. In fact, No. 2 was the one we had the most problems with in 2002.
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    McCoy earns medalist honors at Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.