MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Tour rookie Brendan Steele, who won the Valero Texas Open the week after the Masters, opened with a one-under-par 69 at TPC Southwind and can still get into the U.S. Open if he wins the FedEx St. Jude Classic. He had a somewhat easier path to Congressional earlier in the week but, well, it just didn't work out.
Steele, who was scheduled to play in the U.S. Open qualifier at Tunica National near Memphis on Monday, had a 5:45 p.m. U.S. Airways flight out of Columbus Sunday afternoon. But, the weather that held up play in the Memorial for over two and a half hours, coupled with more bad weather in Charlotte, also held up Steele. His flight pushed away from the gate, then sat on the tarmac for an hour. At 7 o'clock the plane returned to the gate and the passengers were told to deplane. At 8 p.m. they were informed the flight was cancelled. Steele's agent told the USGA of his withdrawal.
"I felt like I was playing good at Memorial. I had kind of a bad Saturday but other than that played pretty solid," said Steele. "I liked my chances. But sometimes things don't work out how you want them to. I'll watch it. Put my feet up. Those guys can get beat up without me."
The next morning Steele was on his way to Memphis. "The only flight they could put us on went to LaGuardia, so we went from Columbus to New York, pretty straight forward," says Steele. "If you know your geography you know they're on the way."
-- Jim Moriarty