FARMINGDALE, N.Y.--The USGA must have used up all its luck last year when Tiger Woods pulled out his dramatic playoff victory over Rocco Mediate at Torrey Pines. When the championship committee arrived at 5 a.m. this morning to begin to setting up Bethpage Black for the start of the 109th U.S. Open, a steady rain was already falling, prompting them to adjust the course set-up for Thursday's opening round.
According to championship chairman Jim Hyler, the tees on four holes were moved up because of the wet weather: No. 7 (playing 489 yards compared to 525 on the scorecard), No. 9 (419 yards/460), No. 10 (478 yards/508) and No. 12 (499 yards/504).
Hyler said that by the time the first group off the first tee (7 a.m. tee time) had reached the second green, volunteers had already had to squeegee the putting surface.
Two to four volunteers with at least two squeegees are on every hole, and when players get to the greens, they have several options. If they request, a player can actually have the line of his putt squeegeed, but there are some "etiquette" rules that the volunteers have been asked to follow. According to Hyler, the volunteers must squeegee at least three feet past the hole, so as not to create a "backstop" for a player's putt.
Hyler felt confident that play would go on without interruption at least through the early afternoon, although the rain is predicted to continue throughout the day. That said, if there was any area on the course that could force play to be halted because of being just too waterlogged, it's the first and 18th fairway, both of which sit in low areas and are susceptible to puddling.