What to expect Sunday at Bethpage


FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – The 109th U.S. Open will end one of these days. At least we’ve finally found a way to make the cut, leaving only 60 players with a chance to win. The forecast is terrible for Sunday, but there is a slim chance that a champion will be crowned by the end of the day. Still here is a list of things to watch during Sunday’s race:

Sweet little Mother Nature

She’s been a big pain in the rump all week so why would Sunday be any different? Bethpage Black has drained incredibly well for as much rain as it has received, but there is much more to come. According to one forecast, from 10 p.m. ET Saturday until 5 p.m. Sunday, the likelihood of heavy rainfall never falls below 70 percent. This course can’t hold that much more water. Frankly, it’s a minor miracle that this championship is as far along as it is right now.

Where will Tiger Woods finish?

There isn’t going to be a victory party, but smart money is still on a top 10. A bad side of the draw will keep Woods from major championship No. 15 but, hey, he’s been on the good side more often than not. Woods was tied for 41st after two rounds and is the ultimate grinder who will find a way to use the remaining holes to his benefit. The guy never quits, is more mentally tough than anyone else and will find a way to leapfrog 35 players before we’re done.

Duval feeling groovy

David Duval is the unanimous feel-good story of the week as he’s tied for fourth after two rounds. He came into the week saying that his scores aren’t a result of how well he’s swinging the club, but his numbers show that he’d only made four cuts all year on the PGA Tour and hadn’t finished better than 55th. The former British Open champion and world No. 1 has spent time getting to know the New York police and firefighters this week and has signed tons of autographs. It seems to be paying off in spades.

“I hope I appreciate it more but I also have a very good idea what great golf is about and what bad golf is about,” Duval said.

Merchandise pavilion

If it rains as much as predicted Sunday, the 43,000-square foot merchandise tent will be the most hopping place on the grounds. Mary Lopuszynski, director of licensing and U.S. Open merchandising, said that 1,200 umbrellas were gone by mid-morning Thursday during a weather delay and that another shipment of 1,000 arrived here Saturday. Combine that with the remaining ponchos and Lopuszynski will have her hands full. And shelves empty.

Amateur hour

Three amateurs made the cut and none shone brighter than the University of Washington’s Nick Taylor, who shot a second-round 65 to end the round tied for seventh. Taylor’s round equaled the U.S. Open record for low score by an amateur, matching the 65s shot by James McHale (1947) and James Simons (1971).

“It’s a good feeling to be able to make the cut,” Taylor said. “I really have no expectations. So just go out and play as well as I can and not have any pressure for the most part.”

Drew Weaver and Kyle Stanley were the other two amateurs to make the cut. Stanley made the cut on the number and Weaver was safely in with 69-72. It’s still a toss up to see who will take home low amateur honors.

European contingent

It’s been widely documented that a European hasn’t won the U.S. Open since Tony Jacklin in 1970 at Hazeltine. Sweden’s Peter Hanson (T-4), and English duo Lee Westwood and Ross Fisher (both T-7) are the best bets. If poor weather continues, the conditions may make the Europeans think they’re playing their Open, not the U.S. Open.