2009 U.S. OpenFARMINGDALE, N.Y. ' Playing the U.S. Open is beginning to feel like jumping on and off a merry-go-round.
The weather delays are creating a dizzying feel to this championship with players joking that they arent sure when one round ends and another begins.
After posting a 2-under-par 68 Sunday that left him nine shots back at Bethpage Black, Tiger Woods was asked if he knew what round he just completed.
We cant even remember what day were playing, Woods said. It just all blurs together.
Woods had just finished the third round late Sunday afternoon. As he spoke to media, U.S. Golf Association officials were preparing to start the final round and squeeze in as many holes as possible before darkness.
When Ricky Barnes closed out the third round with a bogey for an even-par 70, it was 5:01 p.m. The 54-hole leader wouldnt get a lot of time to dwell on the mistake. He was scheduled to go off again at 7:37 p.m. The late start to the final round guarantees that the U.S. Open will finish regulation on a Monday for the first time since 1983.
The upside is that Barnes was spared having to sleep on a 54-hole lead in a major.
A restless night and then a long wait until a late-afternoon final-round tee time heightens pressure on a leader.
Because you dont have to sleep on it, you dont have to go home and think about it, said Lucas Glover, one shot back through 54 holes in a bid to win his first major.
The disjointed nature of play may help underdogs like Barnes and Glover.
Glover was asked if it bothered him that he might have to warm up early Sunday evening and only play one hole before darkness caused play to be suspended.
Might be one less we have to play on Tuesday, Glover cracked.
Tuesday? That notion only makes that merry-go-round feel like its going faster.
Rain wreaked havoc with play on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, making it impossible to finish up play on Sunday.
It feels like groundhog day, said Sean OHair, who started the final round tied for eighth and seven shots back. It feels like the same day over and over again.
Graeme McDowell said the disorienting nature of starting and stopping play, and the way that causes conditions to change within a round, alters the nature of the major championship test. He joked that he lost track of what day, round and even what tournament he was playing.
Its just been kind of difficult to keep yourself motivated, said McDowell, who starts the final round eight shots back.
Hunter Mahan also feels the changing nature of the challenge. He was six back after three rounds.
Conditions would be soft and benign for the start of the final round early Sunday evening, but Mahan wasnt sure what to expect on Monday.
Its just awkward that youre going to play the final round of the U.S. Open on two days and two different types of conditions, he said. (On Monday), I think its supposed to be windy. Its just weird. It doesnt feel like a U.S. Open.
Woods isnt immune to the disorienting effects of all the delays.
Its just gearing up, gearing down, gearing up, gearing down, he said.
The U.S. Open is testing everyones gears this week.
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