It was raining at Bethpage when Tiger Woods won the 2002 U.S. Open.
Back then, Woods built a big lead in the second round under wet, miserable conditions that worsened with afternoon rains, prompting then 22-year-old Sergio Garcia to say, “If Tiger Woods had been out there, it would have been called.” Woods completed his three-shot victory as darkness neared because of a 49-minute rain delay in the final round.
It was a quagmire when Lucas Glover took the 2009 U.S. Open title. It took five days to finish that tournament. But this week won’t be that bad. In the aftermath of that week in 2009, the Bethpage maintenance crew found hundreds of shoes lost in the muck after the tournament was over.
With the move from August to May, perhaps those rains wouldn’t be around.
With rain on Sunday and Monday, once again Bethpage’s Black course is wet, really wet.
Augusta National has those wonderful sub-air systems under its fairways and greens that suck moisture from the soil. No such extravagant equipment at Bethpage State Park, a wonderful municipal complex in Farmingdale, N.Y.
Which brings us back to this long course, north of 7,500 yards that will now play longer.
Higher scores? Maybe not, in fact, with the large, fairly flat greens complexes, it could be low scores for the guys who can hit those greens.
So what does the weather have in store for this week, here’s a look from weather.com:
Thursday: Partly Cloudy; temps: 68° high 51° low; 20% chance of rain, winds WNW 9 mph.
Friday: Cloudy; temps: temps: 64° high 54° low; 20% chance of rain; winds SSE 9 mph.
Saturday: Morning Clouds; temps: 68° high 53° low; 10% chance of rain; winds WNW 9 mph.
Sunday: Partly Cloudy; temps 65° high 55° low; 10% chance of rain; winds SSE 9 mph.
As you can see, cool temperatures — so don’t count on the ball flying ridiculous distances. One of the decisions to keep an eye on is the mud-ball possibility. Will the PGA be forced to allow the field to play “Lift-Clean-And Cheat”?
The rough could also be tougher, it’s long and now it’s wet. And then there’s the “mud-ball” factor.
Then there’s the now cart-driving John Daly to consider. “He’ll need to be careful and considerate of the golf course, and we’ll need to be considerate of his circumstances,” PGA officials said this week. Will he be allowed to drive on the wet fairways? That remains to be seen. When asked about Daly being allowed to ride a cart, Tiger Woods, at his Tuesday presser, said “Well,” then rolled his eyes and said, “I walked with a broken leg.”
The big question mark is how will the cooler temperatures effect the delicate back of pre-tournament favorite Woods?
Woods didn’t seem the least bit phased on Monday. He was out early, before 8 a.m., practicing in the rain and chilly temperatures. Still, he only went nine holes and was schedule for another nine on Tuesday with Wednesday his traditional day of pre-tournament rest.
Then there’s the question of Woods’ state of mind after he was named in a wrongful death lawsuit that was filed this week by the parents of an employee at The Woods Jupiter restaurant. The employee, a bartender, was killed in a single-car accident after allegedly being over-served alcohol after his shift at the establishment.
There’s at least one guy who is bullish on Woods hoisting the Wanamaker come Sunday.
Gambler James Adducci, who bet $85,000 on Woods to win The Masters and then collected $1.2 million when Tiger donned the Green Jacket last month, has thrown down $100,000 on Woods winning the calendar Grand Slam. With that in mind, Adducci was given 100-1 odds when he placed the bet last week. He would collect $10 million if Woods wins his 16th, 17th and 18th majors.
First things first.
Looks like a mudder’s field at the PGA starting tomorrow.