So the first round of the US Open, which was supposed to enjoy tremendous coverage today on ESPN, was delayed by rain before the first group could even finish. Play is scheduled to resume tomorrow at 7:30 AM. But while the golf has been completed for the day, the debate rages on over how players should proceed on a soggy golf course tomorrow. Adverse conditions often enable players to lift, clean, and replace their balls with the blessings of the tournament committee. But the USGA–famous for creating as hellish an environment as possible for its national championship–doesn’t seem willing to allow such a travesty in its tournament. From USA Today:
The PGA Tour’s so-called “lift, clean and place” rule that normally allows players to keep mud off balls is not in place at the U.S. Open, because it’s a USGA event. (The rule also doesn’t apply at other majors.)
So if a ball gets muddy anywhere but on the putting green the player will just have to deal with it. That’s likely on the Bethpage Black course, which has been soaked lately.
Newsday reports that USGA chairman Jim Hyler says the cleaning rule won’t be adopted, under any circumstance.
Sorry, players. You’ll play with muddy balls and like it. But I can tell you from personal experience that it’s not so bad. It’s the only fair way to calculate a true score when you’re playing in the rain…hey, what did you think I meant?