Heat taking mental toll on players at Blackwolf Run


KOHLER, Wis. – Michelle Wie said she downed about a bottle of water per hole in the first round of the U.S. Women’s Open with temperatures hitting a high of 98 degrees and the heat index soaring to 108.

Paula Creamer rarely pops an umbrella for shade, but she used one every hole.

Defending champion So Yeon Ryu said the intense heat made her woozy and affected her focus.

“It was so hot, I couldn’t concentrate,” Ryu said. “Sometimes, my head was a little shaky.”

Creamer said heat was definitely a factor in the competition.

“You’re not thinking 100 percent clearly all the time,” Creamer said. “And I think that's the hardest fight and battle out there is trying to just be in the shade as much as you possibly can.”

While the forecast for Friday wasn’t quite as hot, temperatures are still projected to hit a high of 90.

The U.S. Golf Association once again had two air-conditioned motor coaches set up on the property for spectators to use to cool off. Also, there were special shade pavilions set up around the course with two-for-one water bottle prices at concessions. Iced towels were set up at all the tee boxes for players and caddies.

Joe Goode, the USGA’s managing director of communications, said there were a “handful” of spectators who sought medical attention Thursday for “low level” heat issues but no medical transportations to area hospitals were required because of heat-related issues.

“I think you can attribute that to measures taken to prepare spectators for the heat,” Goode said.