June 18, 2009

Lipouts

What they were saying Friday at Bethpage Black

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- The big buzz Friday was how Craig Currier, greens superintendent at Bethpage Black, and his hard-working staff, made the course playable after receiving more than two inches of rain on Thursday. When play was suspended at 1:45 p.m., the 18th fairway was a series of small rivers and most greens and bunkers were flooded.

True to its promise, the USGA resumed play at 7:26 a.m. Friday -- four minutes early -- and most players were shocked how good the course looked.

Lip Outs

"The staff did a hell of a job getting the golf course ready. I'm sure they worked all night to try and get this course playable, and it was great out there." -- Tiger Woods

"Golf course was in unbelievably good condition considering how much rain fell yesterday. Of course, the maintenance guys, all credit to them and the grounds crew. The golf course was in great shape. Fairways were very playable considering we're playing the ball down and the greens are running great." -- Graeme McDowell

"The course was actually playable. Yesterday, there were greens an inch deep in water. It was incredible. I was very surprised we started on time. I don't know what time they got up, I don't know they whether they were out there under lights trying to get it sorted. Where did the water go? That's what I want to know." -- Ian Poulter

How wet is the course?

"It's heavy going underfoot. It's kind of energy-draining. Obviously this golf course is pretty mentally draining as well. You're always battling for everything you get." -- McDowell

"Eighteen fairway is close to being unplayable. They've had to do an awful lot of work between groups out there. They're still squeegeeing that fairway. I don't know where that water is going to go. It's going to settle. Tomorrow lunchtime when that rain comes back in -- there's no way that course can hold anymore. It will come to the surface pretty quickly." -- Poulter

"Well, it's not dry. The ball's hitting, in the rough, the fairway, wherever it may be and stopping. Not collecting mud at this point; a little bit of dirt and debris. It's almost like too saturated to collect the mud. That might be a day away or two days away." -- David Duval, who took advantage of a late time to shoot 67

"Welcome to college golf. We'd get some weather. We played in snow in Georgia, and we played in rain quite a bit. It's definitely a lot easier playing with a caddie in the rain. In college you have an umbrella, bag and rain gear. It gets tough doing all that alone, playing in the rain, but this course is definitely a million times better than a college golf course." -- amateur Rickie Fowler, who just finished his sophomore season at Oklahoma State

Did early, first-round starters get the bad end of the draw by playing in rain Thursday and soggy conditions Friday morning before the sun came out? It certainly appeared that way, especially with the calm, sunny conditions and front tees the afternoon players enjoyed.

"You know what, you would say yes automatically, quickly, but no. I think the guys who are playing today and tomorrow are going to get more mud balls." -- Woods, an early starter Thursday

"Definitely, there's no doubt about that." --* First-round leader Peter Hanson, who took advantage of the afternoon start to shoot a 66*

Should the USGA have used the lift, clean and place rule? "It's already too late. They may now for the second round but who knows. If we keep it down, it is what it is. It's potluck. You hit good shots and you go play it from there. Everyone has to deal with the same conditions." -- Woods

"The 18th was seriously squishy, borderline casual water across the whole of that fairway. When I stood still, you could see water around my heel." -- Poulter

Down on bunkers:

"We were going with 3-wood or 5-wood into some of these par-4s, and between the three of us, we hit four bunker shots and all four were buried, plugged lies in the face. That is a joke. We practice bunker shots for a reason because we should be skilled enough and the best bunker players in the world should be better than the worst bunker player in the world. Well, it doesn't matter who you are, what handicap you are, a 15-handicapper with a buried lie is going to do no better than what we-re going to do. That, to me, is a joke. It shouldn't happen. There's too much sand and it's too wet. The USGA wanted bunkers to be hazards and they have succeeded. It's a shame." -- Poulter on the bunkers

On Tiger:

"If anything, he just looked like he got comfortable at the last couple of holes. It seemed like it was a fight for him to get it back to level par and it was -- it was such a difficult day. I don't think he would have done that if he came into them 3 or 4 over par. When he got back to par, it was just kind of like, the job was done. It will bite you out there. I think he'll be fine. It was a long day yesterday and a long day today. It was probably four holes too many today. His game is good and solid." -- Padraig Harrington, on playing partner Tiger Woods, who played the last four holes in 4-over par

On Peter Hanson:

"Of course, when I made that hole-in-one over in Walton Heath, London, of course, it felt like fate to get here and just trying to tell myself to get everything out of it." -- Peter Hanson of Sweden, who qualified to get into the field and shot 66 in the first round