Stories Behind the Stories


The reporting day started early Friday. It was raining in Dublin, Ohio, home of The Memorial. There was nothing newsy about the rain. It always seems to rain on Jack Nicklaus annual golf parade at Muirfield Village Golf Club.
But there was a question about whether the weather would allow tournament officials to complete the tournament without going into Monday.
This was important because of all the players in the field scheduled to play in 36-hole Monday sectional qualifyings for the U.S. Open which begins a week from next Thursday at storied Winged Foot in New York.
The consensus was that the guys in Jacks tournament would get a one-day reprieve. That is to say, those of them scheduled to play in the two Columbus, Ohio sectional sites would be all right because the USGA would simply move the sectional back to Tuesday.
It got more interesting when the USGA was forced to consider what it would have to do for the players in Jacks event scheduled to play in Sectional qualifying at the Canoe Brook site in New Jersey.
Would the USGA push that Sectional back until Tuesday to similarly accommodate the Canoe Brook players stuck in Ohio?
When I called the USGA communications office, I was told to call the Metropolitan Golf Assn. in New York because the Met was running the Canoe Brook Sectional for the USGA.
So I called The Met and was told that under no circumstances would Canoe Brook Sectional be moved back to Tuesday. When I explained that might not necessarily be fair to certain players at The Memorial stuck in Ohio finishing Jacks event Monday, I was told by The Met that it needed to check with the USGA.
The Met said it would call me back. So did the USGA.
Meanwhile the weather got better at The Memorial and the calls never were returned.
Then a call came through from B.J. Wie, Michelles father. He reported that his daughter had played 18 holes at the north course at Canoe Brook Friday. She didnt keep score. She was paying more attention to how to play the course.
Wie, in case you dont read the papers or watch The Golf Channel (shame on you) is playing in the Canoe Brook Sectional Monday. Then she is playing in the McDonalds LPGA starting next Thursday.
In a day full of what ifs one of the biggest was what if Wie had been forced to try and qualify on Tuesday.
To put it mildly, there were a lot of reportorial balls in the air Friday afternoon where there was a six hour and nine minute rain delay. Then the sun came out. Now it looked like a Sunday finish was likely at The Memorial.
That became uncertain again, however on Sunday. With leader Carl Petterson on the 12th hole, dangerous weather forced another delay.
J.J. Henry is scheduled to play at Canoe Brook. He finished his final round in Ohio before the stoppage. He would make his 7:30 flight to Newark, just a 15 minute drive from the golf course.
I would have driven from Ohio to New Jersey if Id had to, Henry told me, so excited was he about the prospect of playing a U.S. Open at Winged Foot near where he grew up in Connecticut.
Vaughn Taylor, however, wasnt so sure after the stoppage. He had only made it through 15 holes before the Sunday afternoon rains came.
Another phone call to the USGA revealed that the contingency plans called for Taylor to be allowed into one of the Columbus Sectionals if he finished too late to make his flight to New Jersey.
There was also a possibility that these late adjustments could cause the USGA to decrease the number of spots at Canoe Brook from 18 to 17. This would be good news and bad news for Wie. Fewer Tour players would be in her field at Canoe Brook but there might be less spots.
Happily, the sun came out. The rain delay lasted just half an hour at Muirfield Village. And even Taylor finished in time.
So now the golf worlds full attention can focus on Wie.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt