HAVEN, WIS. -- As a pair of rain showers hit Whistling Straits this morning--the second one more of a downpour than shower--it simply marked a continuation of one of the wettest summers in recent memory for the PGA Championship site. Since June 1, the area has endured 18 days with more than 1/10th of an inch of rain, with five days exceeding one inch.
According to the National Weather Service, 1.14 inches of rain fell in Haven, Wis., Wednesday morning. That left the Straits course, an Americanized links designed to play firm and bouncy, soaking wet, with those playing practice rounds receiving little roll on their tee shots and leaving balls in their pitch marks on the greens. Several of the course's nearly 1,000 bunkers had standing water in them as well.
"It definitely looks more like a links course than it plays," said Rory McIlroy. "Especially with the rain we've had, the course is still very soft and you wouldn't find a links course in Ireland playing that soft. It looks like a links, but it doesn't play like one."
"It's going to play a lot longer, that's for sure," said Steve Stricker of the suddenly softened layout. "But the greens will be more receptive so it offsets that a bit."
And what of course setup? Will the rains alter setup man Kerry Haigh's plans for Thursday's opening round? "I don't think so," said Haigh. "We should be fine."
Unless more rain falls. And given what this area has endured this summer, more of the wet stuff isn't exactly out of the question.
- E. Michael Johnson