Its Getting Hot in Here

RSS

2005 PGA ChampionshipSPRINGFIELD, N.J. ' J.L. Lewis signed his scorecard and then hesitantly emerged from the air-conditioned facility.
 
Geez, its hot, he said in exasperation.
 
The heat beat down on players Saturday at Baltusrol Golf Club like the LAPD.
 
Jerry Kelly
The heat index reached 105 degrees Saturday at Baltusrol.
It was so hot that Hal Sutton looked like some kid had taken him down in a dunking booth. His shirt was drenched from his belt buckle to his chest ' and he hadnt even started his round.
 
It was so hot that Joey Sindelars dry-cleaner thanked him for not making the field.
 
It was so hot that John Daly drank ' gasp! ' water.
 
Not that he completely forsook his Diet Cokes. A member of Dalys gallery, one of his club manufacturers, carried a portable cooler full of water and the soda that has become his lifeblood.
 
He needs his Diet Cokes, the tag-along said. But in this weather
 
By the time Daly teed off at 12:50 p.m., the heat index had already exceeded 100 degrees, and was rising faster that the price of gas.
 
Vaughan Taylor was in the first group out at 8:00 a.m. He played alongside a marker, Mike Sparks, head pro at Royce Brook Golf Club in Hillsborough, N.J., and completed play a little over four hours later, shooting a 1-over 71. When asked if there was any advantage to going out early he said, Not really. Hot is hot. As soon as you wake up in the morning the humidity just hits you.
 
Tiger Woods was in the third group out. His shirt, which was a faint yellow when he first donned it, had turned a mustard color due to sweat by the time he walked off with his 66. He spent most of the day tugging on it, trying to detach the soggy micro-fibers from his skin.
 
In his post-round interview, he rested his left arm on a towel, which absorbed a waterfall of perspiration, while his right hand hugged a bottled-water.
 
Its hot out there, but its not brutal, he said. The worst weather I ever played in was Malaysia. Nothing could be as bad as that.
 
Thomas Bjorn, who tied a mens major championship record with a 63, said the same thing: Oh, you try and play in Malaysia and Singapore and Australia and its going to get a lot worse than this. Malaysia this year is probably the worst Ive ever been on a golf course.
 
New Jersey in the summertime might not be South East Asia, but it was awfully hot this Saturday. And hot is hot.
 
Its just like home, added Woods, an Orlando, Fla., resident. Unfortunately, we cant wear shorts.
 
Caddies could wear shorts, and each and every one did. Damon Green, Zach Johnsons looper, wasnt looking forward to lugging the industrial-sized tour bag around the 7,400-yard layout.
 
I was hoping theyd give us a cart, he joked while bathing himself in sunscreen.
 
LPGA professional Laura Diaz is caddying this week for her brother Ron Philo, Jr. Philo mercifully allowed his four-month pregnant sibling to carry a light-weight, kick-stand bag.
 
Phew, was about all she could manage after the round, before going into the players dining area for refreshments and a more comfortable environment.
 
The heat was a huge factor for me, said club pro Darrell Kestner, who shot 78. I felt dizzy and you get sweat pouring out of your eyes. Its a factor.
 
It was for Daly, and not just because he's a chain-smoker with a Buddha belly. The heat and humidity loosened the epoxy holding his putter head to the shaft, forcing him to belly an L-wedge on the greens over his final eight holes.
 
Outside of the ropes, patrons not only gulped down gallons of water but some carried umbrellas and parasols for protection. Others found shade among the oaks, which may not have been the safest place considering that a massive limb fell Friday on the fourth hole and broke a mans leg, but it was certainly worth the risk.
 
A better bet may have been the multiple misting stations.
 
Everyone needs to take precautions, said Dr. Norman Luka, who was heading one of the first-aid stations on site. You need to drink a lot of fluids and that means more than just water. (Sports drinks) provide glucose and potassium. And you need to eat; thats very important. People forget to eat when its hot.
 
Woods echoed that last statement. When asked if there was anything that he was going to work on after his round, he said: Yeah, eating. When its this hot, you dont want to eat much, and I need to get the calories in so I (can) keep my weight up.
 
While the players and caddies cant do much to avoid the menacing sun during the course of competition, they are able to replenish much of what these oppressive conditions take from their bodies.
 
Coolers are set up on every tee box, filled with water and sports drinks, as well as candy bars, granola bars, crackers and fruit. Sandwiches are also available.
 
Dr. Luka wouldnt offer any advice to the players. Theyve done this for so long, they know what theyre doing out there, he said.
 
'I think I pretty much drank a bottle of water on every hole,' said Bjorn, who teed off at 11:20. 'I've eaten a couple of bananas and a couple of energy bars in the round, and I made sure that I had a good breakfast.'
 
Saturday was an endurance test for all those doing the carrying, the swinging, the walking and the watching.
 
Thats why I run in the heat, said Woods. Thats why I run all those miles down there in Orlando.

But for Woods and the rest of the 79 men who made the cut, it wasnt just a physical test; it was mental and emotional one as well.
 
If you play well, youll be cooler, Davis Love III said, implying mind over matter.
 
He might have even felt a bit nippy after his 2-under 68 earned him a share of the 54-hole lead.
 
Love was among the afternoon participants. They received a bit of a reprieve when clouds masked the sun around 4:00. A weather warning was posted, but it proved only an innocuous threat.
 
'That almost-storm we got cooled it down about 10 degrees on the back nine,' said Steve Elkington, who shot 5-under 31 on the inward half en route to a 68.
 
Sundays forecast calls for less extreme conditions, with the mercury rising into the upper-80s to lower-90s. Theres also a 60-percent chance of scattered thunderstorms throughout the day.
 
After a day in which the heat index maxed out at 105 degrees, it shouldn't be quite as hot temperature-wise. But on Sunday of a major championship, thats when the heat is really turned up.
 
Email your thoughts to Mercer Baggs
 
Related Links:
  • Scores - 87th PGA Championship
  • Photo Gallery
  • PGA Championship Video Vault
  • Full Coverage - 87th PGA Championship