Thursday, June 18, 2009

Can this Open still finish on Sunday?

Now what?

After continued heavy rains forced the weather-stalled first round of the U.S. Open to be suspended until Friday, the increasingly ominous question is whether this championship can be completed as scheduled on Sunday.

The forecast calls for decent conditions on Friday but a return to potentially heavy rain on Saturday with showers again on Sunday.

Asked if the tournament can still conclude on schedule if the forecast is correct, USGA director of competition Mike Davis said, "Finishing Sunday would be borderline impossible."

After play was suspended at 10:16 a.m. Thursday, on-site forecasters expected the rain to subside by 1:30 p.m. However, showers continued to persist and the decision was made to suspend play because water had ponded around the course, making it unplayable.

The plan, weather-permitting, is to resume the first round at 7:30 a.m. Friday. If there are no delays, the second round could begin by approximately 4 p.m.

With another one inch of rain predicted Saturday, officials are hopeful getting the first 36 holes completed by Saturday night then try to finish with a 36-hole day on Sunday.

It is possible, chairman of the championship committee Jim Hyler said, that some players could play more than 36 holes in a day in an effort to finish on time.

"We will not determine the national championship until we have played 72 holes," Davis said. "If that takes us into Monday or Tuesday...well, a Women's Open went to Wednesday in the 1980s."