SAN FRANCISCO--I know, I know. Golf is an outdoor sport and so you have to accept that weather will have its influence on tournaments from time to time. It's just that I must admit I didn't think I'd arrive today for the 107th U.S. Amateur Championship at Olympic Club only to find that the first day of stroke-play qualifying had been delayed four hours by â¿¿ fog?!?
You see it's August and just a little over a week ago I spent a week in Indianapolis sweating off 15 pounds covering the U.S. Women's Amateur in near 100-degree heat. I actually think I've had the grand slam of weather combinations. Cold at Augusta National for the Masters; sunny and pleasant at Golden Horseshoe for the NCAA Championship; reasonable at Oakmont, with one monster shower late Wednesday night; rain and chills at Carnoustie for the British Open; steamy at Crooked Stick for the Women's Am.
But fog? Maybe I just haven't watched enough San Francisco Giants baseball games but I didn't expect this. At least not four hours of it. Five miles away at the San Francisco International, it's Chamber of Commerce weather. Sunny, 70 degrees. Light breeze. Down by the Pacific Ocean, though, you have trouble seeing your hand in front of your face.
Of course, it's really no sweat off my back, literally. It's the players that are the ones going stir crazy. Gary Wolstenholme, a two-time British Amateur champion was supposed to tee off at 1:35 p.m. local time but now won't go off until half past five. To kill time, he's been hanging out here in the media center at the clubhouse.
"I'm not even ready to thing about hitting balls yet," he said at 2:39 PDT, soft white clouds still blanketing the hills outside.
Of course, they will not be able to finish up play on time today, with 312 men competing on Olympic Club's Lake and Ocean courses. Provided there is no similar delay tomorrow, they might be able to get back on time, but more than likely it won't be until Wednesday at the earliest.
Meanwhile, the real question is this â¿¿ what happens during Sunday's 36-hole final if the pea soup continues to linger?