Sunday, June 21, 2009

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — The U.S. Open is not going to finish on Sunday. After rain stopped Saturday evening's play and more rain fell overnight, the USGA pushed Sunday's restart time from 7:30 a.m. to noon. Mike Davis, the USGA's senior director of rules and competitions, said the USGA decided to delay Sunday's restart because of the possibility of another heavy shower this morning in the Farmingdale area. "Why bring the players in when there is a very good chance that we'd have to pull them off again?" Davis said.If the weather cooperates, the third round will be completed around 4:30 local time. Players will then be re-paired for the fourth round, which is expected to begin at 5:30, with groups starting from the first and 10th tees. Davis said the final group would tee off around 7:20.The reason for the hour delay between rounds is logistical. "There is a 25-minute shuttle ride involved in getting the players to No. 10 tee," Davis said. "So we think it would be blatantly unfair to the player, immediately coming out of the scoring tent, to be told, 'Go run and get on the shuttle to make your next tee time.' "If the skies remain overcast, which is expected, then the USGA hopes play can continue until about 7:55 or 8 p.m. If the sun comes out, play could continue until 8:15 or 8:20, according to Davis.The fourth round will resume on Monday morning, but specific times have yet to be determined. "If we start at 5:30 [Sunday], there's about six hours of golf per wave, you're realistically only going to get about two to two-and-a-half hours of golf in," Davis said. "That's going to leave you about three and a half hours to go to finish up round four [on Monday]. So we'll finish before noon tomorrow, assuming that we don't get thrown something from Mother Nature that we're not expecting."If there is a tie after the fourth round and a playoff is needed, it would start Monday afternoon if USGA officials were confident it could be finished before dark. If rain causes more delays tomorrow, a playoff could be pushed to Tuesday."If we are somehow delayed again tomorrow, we've already made the decision that if it got later than 3:45 or 4:00, we wouldn't start a playoff," Davis said. "The last thing we want is a playoff where they have to come back to play just one or two holes. That's just not the competitive situation that we want." Based on the forecasts, however, Davis feels confident a playoff could be started and completed Monday afternoon. Davis noted that Bethpage Black is draining well, and that light rain is not the problem. "Believe it or not, this course can keep handling this, as long as we don't get the downpours. The water is seeping down because it is a sandy, loam soil. So that's the great part. Believe me, if we were at some U.S. Open venues right now and this were happening, I can't even begin to think about what we'd be doing."

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