Mike Davis: Oakmont will play easier
OAKMONT, Pa. -- Mike Davis, the USGA's senior director of rules and competition, says the golf course tomorrow will play easier than it had during the past week.
"The [players] are gonna see a golf course, in terms of playing into the greens, that will be easier because greens won't be as firm and balls won't release as much," said Davis, who expects green speeds will remain the same. "On the other side of the coin, we had a very fast and firm golf course, so it's going to make it a good bit longer."
As of 5pm, about half an inch of rain fell at Oakmont, with much more pouring down. While Davis said the course itself could have been prepared for play, the current forecast is ominous until at least 2am, and play would have been interrupted too frequently.
The players who didn't finish their second rounds will start on the first and tenth tees tomorrow morning at 7:30am (the tee markers and pin locations will remain the same), and the third round will likely start at 2:30pm, which means the leaders won't tee off until after 4:30pm. Sunday will look similar, with players finishing their third rounds at 7:30am, and final threesomes teeing off in the afternoon.
Davis said that while his weekend hole locations won't change significantly, he plans to rework the weekend tee positions, moving them up farther than he had planned. But he doesn't seem concerned about the condition of the golf course, saying that Oakmont, which was extremely firm before 2:30pm, can withstand several hard downpours.
"It was a very dry golf course that we had, so it can take a lot of rain," said Davis. "Oakmont's surface drains exceptionally well, so we're actually pretty positive, even though we know tomorrow is going to be a softer Oakmont. I think by the time Sunday gets here, it may not be as firm as it was the day before suspension, but it'll be pretty good."
Play the audio clip below to hear Mike Davis explain the scenarios that might play out this weekend.