Commentary

Pondering the possibilities after day 1

Originally Published: June 18, 2009
By Jason Sobel | ESPN.com

Editor's note: Jason Sobel's live blog on Friday will begin at 7:30 a.m. ET.

5:00 p.m. ET: Well, I think nearly seven hours of the Rain Delay Live Blog is about all I can handle for today.

Before I leave, though, allow me to leave you with the best- and worst-case scenarios for the rest of this week's U.S. Open …

Best-case scenario: The continuation of the first round goes off as planned at 7:30 a.m. on Friday. Without any delays for the day, the second round begins at 4:00 p.m. and runs about four hours, maybe a little more. The weather on Saturday isn't nearly as poor as currently forecasted, allowing the entire second round to be completed by late morning/early afternoon. The third round then takes place Saturday afternoon and, if necessary, finishes up Sunday morning. Then the final round is completed by that evening, as planned.

Sounds pretty good, huh? Well, then there's this …

Worst-case scenario: The first round is further delayed at 7:30 a.m. on Friday due to standing water on the course. The forecast doesn't call for terrible weather throughout the day, though, so the entire first round should be able to be completed. The weather on Saturday turns out to be everything the USGA expects it to be, washing away the entire day. And that means we don't get the second -- yes, second -- round under way until Sunday morning. That would take all day, leaving the third and fourth rounds for Monday -- if they can finish 'em both in one day.

Oh, and that's not even taking into consideration an 18-hole playoff.

So, yeah, we could be here for a while.

My best guess? Some combination of both scenarios, with the 72 holes of regulation being completed Monday evening. But again, that's just a guess.

That'll do it for today's Live Blog. Thanks for all of the e-mail and Twitter feedback; I received literally thousands of 'em today. Back on Friday at 7:30 a.m. Until then, keep 'em dry …


4:51 p.m. ET: Somehow this blog has devolved into only e-mails from family and friends. Here's a haiku from ESPN.com senior writer Wright Thompson:

Trapped in Miami
No time for television
Jason Sobel saves

Truth is, I only posted that to reuse this joke that I've written before: That was exactly 63,179 words shorter than anything else Wright has ever written.


4:41 p.m. ET: E-mail from my mom -- and no, I'm not running out of e-mail from "real" readers; this one was actually pretty good:

Will this weather factor into the USGA's decision about ever having the open at Bethpage in the future?

I don't think so. I think it's more of a freak thing than anything else. Not like this type of weather hits the Long Island area every mid-June, even though it did in 2002, as well.

I can, however, see the USGA implementing a better drainage system on the course, if one exists, so as to avoid this again.

Of course, I think what my mom was really getting at, since I'm staying with my folks this week, who live about 20-25 minutes from the course, is whether they should expect me again for a week in, say, 2019 or something. And the definitive answer is ... maybe.


4:37 p.m. ET: E-mail from Lee in Ohio:

If the tournament gets pushed back as much as you are saying, how funny would it be to have an 18-hole playoff? The tournament could take Thursday-Thursday to finish.

Funny? I don't see anything funny about it. Although, I guess if I didn't have to cover the event and come back here for 11 straight days (this past Monday to next Thursday), I might find some humor in it. But now? None. At all.


4:32 p.m. ET: E-mail from my buddy Tommy, who is working on the highlight -- what there was of one today, anyway -- of Round 1 for "SportsCenter" back in Bristol, Conn.:

When they play two rounds in one day, when do they change the hole locations? Is there enough of a gap between rounds that they're able to do so?

Only takes a few minutes to change hole locations, so that shouldn't be much of an issue. The USGA will know prior to the beginning of the round exactly where it wants the hole location, so the actual process of cutting it shouldn't take very long.


4:18 p.m. ET: Tweet, tweet ...

Ianjamespoulter: Time for an afternoon sleep, rest is key this week. it's going to be a long 1. i think this could def go into monday maybe tuesday.

stewartcink: Evidence of rainy day: Cink family just spent over $100 at CPK. Time for a nap!

JakeTrout: The 1st round suspension is frustrating. But it was the right decision. I haven't seen this much rain EVER in my career.

That last one is from Peter Jacobsen, who is doing some TV work this week. Most rain EVER is saying something for a guy from the Pacific Northwest.


4:08 p.m. ET: For those who wonder why play was suspended so "early" in the day, I can safely say that while there was no way the USGA could get the course ready in time, that would have been a moot point anyway, as it is still raining just as hard as it has all day.

Hmmm ... we've got exactly 15 hours and 22 minutes until play starts up again. Now I'm beginning to wonder if that is enough time to get everything prepared for the continuation of play.


4:02 p.m. ET: Getting this question from a lot of e-mailers, so let's go with, oh, Rick from Parts Unknown:

If play is suspended and a player is in the middle of a hole, do they just put a tee in the ground? What if it's on the green and they squeegee over the tee? What if tee placed in the middle of the fairway is washed away by water?

I believe most players -- including Tiger Woods on the seventh green -- have used a tee rather than a ball marker. I'm sure the grounds crew has been told to work around these markers or, if necessary, remove and replace them in the exact same position. In the event that these markers are gone on Friday morning at 7:30 a.m., though, the player will consult his playing partners and replace his ball to the closest point where he believes he had left it.

This was a major controversy a few years ago in Indonesia, when Colin Montgomerie marked his ball prior to the suspension of play, came back the next day and replaced it, though many of his fellow competitors believed he improved his lie.


3:50 p.m. ET: I'm getting barraged with questions about the rain-check process for tickets here at the U.S. Open. Just spoke with a USGA official and they have yet to make a decision on exactly what will happen.

If I hear something before I sign off from the live blog for the day, I'll let you know.


3:41 p.m. ET: Tiger Woods discussed the round via his personal Web site ...

On the decision to tee off: "It was a good decision to play today. We had to get in as many holes as we could. We probably played more holes than we thought."

On when it really started getting bad: ""The rain lightened up quite a bit on four and five. We didn't think it would be that bad. But on the sixth tee, it started pouring down."

On the continuation of the opening round on Friday: ""It could be the same thing. It's a long day. Who knows, we may not start on time if we get more rain tonight. I just have to be ready at 7:30."

After blasting out of a bunker for his third shot on the long par-4 seventh hole, Woods will have an 8-footer for par to remain at 1-over.


3:25 p.m. ET: Those earlier vents and complaints? Those were nothing -- absolutely nothing -- compared to this, from Matt in the City of Champions:

I purposely scheduled my vasectomy for this morning so that I can do nothing but lay around and watch four days of U.S. Open golf and ice down my boys. I get home just in time to find out the first round has been cancelled for today! And there is nothing -- and I mean NOTHING -- else on TV right now. Somebody please shoot me!

Hey Slingbox guy, feel a little bit better about your awful predicament now? Not so bad, is it?


3:12 p.m. ET: Some highlights -- well, maybe lowlights -- from the news conference of Jim Hyler and Mike Davis of the USGA:

• It will be "essentially almost like a shotgun start at 7:30 tomorrow," said Davis. The original Thursday afternoon wave of players will be moved up, with the groups scheduled for 12:30 beginning at 10:00 a.m.

• Round 2 will begin at 4:00 p.m. "Obviously, Round 2 will spill into Saturday," said Davis. If it doesn't begin until 4, that means no players will complete their second round before the weekend begins, which is bad news because …

• "Saturday is more problematic and the words that our weather people are using is 'sort of like today,'" Hyler said. Ouch. If it's even close to today, with the course already reaching its saturation point, that could knock out play for that day, too, meaning the second round won't be completed -- or even started, for many players -- until Sunday morning. And that is bad news because …

• "There's a possibility of more rain -- not like this, but more rain -- Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of next week," said Hyler. Uh-oh. Wednesday finish, anyone? At some point, you've gotta wonder if the USGA would ever decide to make this a 54-hole tournament. It certainly doesn't sound like it. "If the forecast we've got right now for Saturday and so on were absolutely accurate," Davis said, "yes, absolutely finishing on Sunday would be borderline impossible."

There you go, golf fans. Might want to -- cough, cough -- start feeling a little ill on Monday. You don't want to be stuck in your cubicle when the U.S. Open is being decided for a second straight year, do you?


3:03 p.m. ET: Jeff Brehaut, one of four co-leaders -- overnight leaders, if you will -- came to the interview room a few minutes ago …

On the course: "It played even longer than the practice rounds. Although, they put the tee up on the 10th hole, which all three of us who I was playing with, we all said, 'Wow, this is nice, they're giving us a break on the holes we really needed.' The forward tees were back, so we played really long. I got a couple of good breaks when I drove it in the rough where I could get a lie that I could handle. I hit a 5-wood into 11. I hit a 5-wood into 12. I hit a 3-wood into 16. I hit a 5-wood into 13, the par-5 for my third shot. I was hitting some long clubs."

Whoa. Hang on. One of the guys leading the Open hit a 5-wood … into a par-5 … for his third shot? Uh, yeah … guess the course is playing kinda long. OK, continue ...

On course playability: "I played rounds at Pebble Beach in the AT&T exactly like this. Colder, though. But it was OK, really. Through the first 10 holes, it was wet, but the course was holding up pretty well. But when we got to the second green, you know, my 11th hole, we all looked at each other and said, it can't handle it anymore. They were squeegeeing it off, and it was coming straight back up. J.P. Hayes had a 45-footer. They squeegeed it away, and he putted it and it rooster-tailed up, and left the putt 15 feet short. At that point, it just couldn't take any more water. So it happened very quickly where the course was playable and then all of a sudden it wasn't."

Word of the day: "Squeegeeing." Stare at that one for a few minutes and see if it gives you a headache.

On his practice-round fun: "Yesterday I was playing, I played the front -- the back side first and then I played the front side by myself -- and I get to the 9th hole and I hit two lousy iron shots into the front bunker. I get up there and I think Phil Mickelson is a group or two behind me. All these people are waiting on Phil and Jim Furyk to get there. So it was very crowded, I hit my first bunker shot, hit a nice shot and it went and trickled in right in the hole, and this place went nuts. I laughed and I threw another ball down because I was practicing and I hit the same shot and it went in again. And it was the funniest moment. I was jumping up and down like Bob Tway when he held on to beat Greg Norman. I pumped my fist, I signed half-an-hour's worth of autographs. Afterwards, I told my wife I felt like I had just won the tournament. It was that funny. I think if you talked to anybody that was there, they would have probably said the same thing: It was hilarious. So that was my highlight so far."

Any time the guy in a share of the lead had his highlight of the week on Wednesday, well, that says a lot about the U.S. Open so far.


2:47 p.m. ET: OK, time for a vent-a-thon …

From Jake in Philly:

I was so amped up for today. It's my birthday, the first round of the Open, and the Yanks had a day game. I took today off to celebrate in front of the TV, but instead I am stuck writing this e-mail. Worst birthday ever?

Or you could, um, like, go outside and celebrate. I'm just sayin' …

From Ashby in Fresno, Calif.:

These guys are wimps. I bet the Bishop is still on the course, determined to finish.

"God would never interrupt the greatest round of my life."

From Joe in Parts Unknown:

"I'd keep playing. I don't think the heavy stuff's gonna come down for quite a while."

Classic.

From Drew in Orem, Utah:

I bought a FREAKING SLINGBOX and connected that thing to my TV so I could watch the FREAKING U.S. OPEN while at work! Now I have to read a blog about golf when there is no golf being played?

You and me both, dude.

And last but not least, from Peter in Charlotte, N.C.:

There once was a U.S. Open
Where the weather there was no hope in
Round One's been postponed
The golfers go home
And we workers, we go back to moping

Yep, that kind of sums it up, doesn't it?


2:41 p.m. ET: E-mail from Simon in New York:

When I play at Bethpage, there is a rule that there are no rain checks issued after you tee off. How come these guys get a replay? Us NY'ers don't know who is running our state government, much less the State Park that the Open is being played at! Here's a great chance to raise some revenue and they let it slip by!

Great point. No refunds, fellas. Gotta start from No. 1 again tomorrow and pay your way. And yeah, you'd better sleep in the car just to make sure you can get out there.


2:31 p.m. ET: From the ESPN Stats & Information department, here is a list of suspended U.S. Open rounds over the past 15 years:

Shinnecock Hills, 2004: Lost part of first round (4:43 p.m. to 6:55 p.m.), suspended at 7:40 p.m. due to darkness. First round completed next day along with the second round.

Southern Hills, 2001: First round suspended at 3:41 p.m., officially called at 5 p.m. First round resumed the next day and second round suspended at 8:47 p.m. (22 players still on course).

Pebble Beach, 2000: Fog suspends first round at 3:56 p.m., suspended for the day at 6:28 p.m. Round 1 resumed next day following 90-minute fog delay. First round and second round finished Friday.

Congressional, 1997: Friday's second round suspended at 11:52 a.m. due to lightning. Resumed at 2:10 p.m. Called for day at 8:31 p.m. (45 players left on course). Second round resumed next day (suspended at 5:06 p.m. due to heavy thunderstorms). Resumed at 7:09 p.m., called at 8:20 p.m. (21 players left on course).

Oakmont, 1994: First round suspended due to lightning at 8:18 p.m. (18 players left on course). Friday delayed 10 minutes due to fog. Second round suspended at 7:56 p.m. due to lightning (18 players left on course).

One of my fondest memories covering golf came during that 2000 first-round delay. Was out around No. 9 or 10 at Pebble when the horn blew. Sat 10 feet away from Jack Nicklaus as he talked to Hale Irwin, Tom Kite and Fred Couples, among others. He ate a sandwich. Fed the birds. Answered questions from fans in the gallery. Pretty cool way to spend a fog delay.

Anyway …

One other important note from the research folks:

The last time a U.S. Open finished on a Monday because of weather was 1983 at Oakmont. Larry Nelson was tied with Tom Watson in Sunday's final round when a storm hit Oakmont and postponed the last three holes until Monday morning. Then Nelson made a 65-foot putt for birdie at the 16th to take the lead. Nelson shot 67 to beat Watson by a shot.


2:26 p.m. ET: Yep, it was sarcasm. I knew it.

Stewartcink: J/K. I was surprised they got any play at all in today. Now for the assault on local theaters. Any suggestions?

Yes, you all enjoyed "The Hangover." We've been over this already. But I'm sure Stewart would appreciate the suggestion …


2:08 p.m. ET: I really don't know if this tweet was tinged with sarcasm or totally honest …

Stewartcink: What a joke. I can't believe we aren't playing right now!

I'm leaning toward sarcasm considering it's still raining and there are huge puddles on the green. Yeah, that's it. Gotta be sarcasm. Right, Stewart?


2:01 p.m. ET: E-mail from Erik in Parts Unknown:

So I'm friends with Andrew Parr … and having a debate over text. Can he claim being "clubhouse leader at U.S. Open"? I think it's fair. He's in the clubhouse and he leads the U.S. Open.

Erik sent this before play was suspended for the day, but I would have said yes before -- and I give an even bigger "yes" now. Along with Jeff Brehaut, Johan Edfors and Ryan Spears, Parr will have been leading the Open for about 21 hours by the time play resumes. That's longer than a lot of other clubhouse leaders at tournaments.


1:58 p.m. ET: Just got word that ESPN's television coverage will continue at 9:55 a.m. ET on Friday.

The Live Blog will be up and running at 7:30, right when the players start back up. Not that I'm going anywhere for a while. I'll stay here and update the scene, maybe let you vent your frustrations at not having any golf to watch today.


1:55 p.m. ET: Play has officially been suspended for the day.

The USGA just announced that there will be no more golf today. That was a three-hour 44-minute delay, by my count, before the round was called off.

Play will resume at 7:30 a.m. ET -- not 7 -- tomorrow. I'm guessing that will give the grounds crew an extra half-hour to get everything ready.


1:43 p.m. ET: E-mail from Mark in Parts Unknown:

I think the USGA should make all these guys go sit in their cars until it stops raining. And if they stop play 'til tomorrow? You got it -- they can sleep in their cars overnight. It's the only way for the pros to get the true Bethpage experience.

Love it. And they should have to sleep four to a vehicle in rental cars, too. No Lexus courtesy cars.

I don't think they'd be complaining about the rough or the greens after being Slinkied into a Datsun for 16 hours.


1:38 p.m. ET: Tweet, tweet from the clubhouse …

@Ianjamespoulter: Guys, you will laugh your a-- off. We have just been told by the USGA that when it stops raining they can get this course playable in 1 hour.

@Ianjamespoulter: Where are they going to put all that water … You have to [be] kidding me. USGA: abracadabra, disappear rain. It's still there, guys, try again …

Well, glad to know I'm not the only one who thinks it would be impossible to get back out there anytime soon.

And by the way, if you're still looking for a name for your U.S. Open foursome, we now have a winner: Abracadabra, Disappear Rain.


1:34 p.m. ET: E-mail from Ryan in Boston:

Obviously the weather would likely prevent it, but is there any rule against the players practicing putting or hitting some range shots (if not outside, then in a net) while the delay is going on? If I were Tiger, I'd be out there practicing similar putts to the one he has left for par, or maybe practicing the driver.

Nope, no rule against it -- unless the range or practice green is closed, which I haven't heard to be the case. Can't imagine that's an issue right now. I wouldn't think any player has tried to practice on either one.

Tiger, though? This wet stuff shouldn't be an issue. After all, TW is pretty good from the water.


1:27 p.m. ET: I believe this is the very definition of irony …

ShakerUBF@JasonSobel: Looks a nice day at Turnberry, ahem.... http://twitpic.com/7pu6b

So, who wants to wager it'll be raining sideways with a three-club wind there a month from now?

Of course, at the British Open, such weather is charming. At the U.S. Open? Devastating.


1:19 p.m. ET: From a fellow reporter: "According to the USGA, it's going to stop raining in 11 minutes."

Huh.

Sure doesn't look like it, but I guess I'll take their word for it.

Right on cue, an announcement from the USGA officials here on site: "The next weather update will come at 1:45."


1:09 p.m. ET: I've gotten this question from a few hundred different e-mailers, but I'll use this one from Christopher in New York because he spelled everything right:

Can you name some specific players that will benefit from (or at least be better equipped to handle) the wet conditions once play resumes?

As far as those who have teed off versus those still waiting to play, I'm not sure either wave has much of an advantage right now. I mean, it's nice for a guy like Kuchar to be sitting at home rather than inside the clubhouse, but really, that's not going to affect anyone's swing at all.

And yes, there are some mudders out there. Even though he's not a long hitter, I've always thought Mike Weir is a good rain player. Ernie Els and Vijay Singh have won tourneys in poor conditions. And, of course, all of the U.K.-born players grew up playing in bad weather and should be more accustomed to it.

Obviously length is crucial in wet conditions, but I think it's even more important to be able to hit a high ball, especially with the irons. Some of the guys who can do that are also some of the world's better players -- Angel Cabrera, Kenny Perry, Paul Casey, Henrik Stenson and, yes, Tiger Woods.


1:04 p.m. ET: I don't think anyone believes Tiger Woods is out of the mix just because of an early double-bogey on the fifth hole, but there's some recent history that claims he can still win with a double.

From ESPN's research department:

Tiger had four double-bogeys in four regulation rounds at last year's U.S. Open, including two in the first round en route to a 1-over 71. However, he did not card a double in his win at Bethpage in '02. That year, he played the fifth hole at 1-over for the tournament (par on Thursday, Friday and Sunday; bogey on Saturday).


12:57 p.m. ET: E-mail from Jess in Texas:

Is there a golfer there that has the cojones to come out of the clubhouse and do a head-first slide out in front of the gallery like the baseball players do during rain delays???

Paging Boo Weekley. Will Mr. Weekley please report to the first fairway?


12:50 p.m. ET: Hmmm ... it appears Mike Tirico has given me a shout-out on the ESPN television coverage. Right back at ya, buddy.

If anyone knows how difficult it is to blog during a rain delay, it's Tirico and the guys who are on TV, trying to talk about a tournament that isn't happening.

We're all in the same boat ... uh, so to speak.


12:43 p.m. ET: More name-dropping. Just got this e-mail from Joe in Parts Unknown:

What's the chance of play today? Give us a percentage. Are we going to see the players back on the course at some point late this afternoon?

One percent. Maybe less. I just don't see how they can get back out there. Huge puddles on the greens and in the bunkers. The fairways are saturated. Lots of green and yellow stuff on the radar screen.

Of course, one European journalist just gave me this idea: Just get 'em back out there and play the British Open.

It's true. If we had this kind of weather at a British Open, the players would still be out there.


12:38 p.m. ET: Name-dropping? Or just hitting up whomever I can find in the Rolodex?

Just got this text from Matt Kuchar:

Sorry, I'm sitting at home. My tee time was not until 2:09.

Lucky guy. He doesn't even have to wait this out in a hotel room, either. Kuchar is staying with friends at a house in Nassau County this week.


12:35 p.m. ET: Just received a text message from Ryuji Imada, who posted a 1-over 36 on the front side this morning:

USGA is giving us updates every 30 minutes, but nothing yet. Just sitting around chatting.


12:32 p.m. ET: According to an announcement from the USGA just a few seconds ago, we've now had .6 inches of rain so far today.

One tournament official told me, "At 6:45, it was perfectly clear. They announced Rickie Fowler's name at the first tee and -- whoosh! -- the rain just started coming down."


12:28 p.m. ET: Just stuck my head outside for a minute ... and got drenched.

It's coming down as hard now as it has all day, just an absolute downpour. The course has already reached a saturation point at some level, so this is just making it so much worse.

As one fellow reporter just said to me while soaking wet and mud-covered from head to toe, "It's like Woodstock out there!"

Uh-huh. Just without the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. Otherwise ... just like it.


12:21 p.m. ET: More inside info on what's going on in the clubhouse, via text from Tomasulo:

Sitting down with some buddies, just eating and waiting, telling jokes, learning the rules of cricket and learning jokes from my buddy's 8-year-old daughter. Gonna go to a movie if they give us a longer update.

There you go, folks. Pro golfers are just like us!!!


12:16 p.m. ET: Just got a text message from Peter Tomasulo, who was scheduled to be in the first threesome in the afternoon wave, when asked what's going on:

"They keep giving us 30-minute delays, so I'm not sure."


12:08 p.m. ET: I've got it!

Rain delay over!

Get the players out there!

Courtesy of Tod in Parts Unknown, let's just give every player a sleeve of these and get 'em right back on the course.


11:58 a.m. ET: Tweet, tweet ...

biggsyfl@JasonSobel How about information on lift clean and place. Would USGA implement that in the middle of a round (doubt it).

Not gonna happen. The USGA frowns on such practice and wouldn't even consider it. Don't believe me? Ask the chairman of the competition committee ...

Q: In light of the weather forecast, the current softness of the course and the likelihood it's going to be a lot softer, can you envision any circumstance in which the players will be allowed to lift, clean and replace?
JIM HYLER: No.

Q: So if they can't do that, you're prepared to take this tournament into Monday or Tuesday?
JIM HYLER: If it gets to the point where -- we're not going to play lift, clean and place. We'll suspend. If we can't play it, if it's not fair to be playing the ball as it lies, we'll suspend play. We'll stay here until we get a champion.

Q: Do you recall any other championships -- and this is for David [Fay] as well, I imagine -- in which the USGA has allowed that method of play?
JIM HYLER: Lift, clean and place? No.


11:51 a.m. ET: Tough day not only for the grounds crew here at Bethpage, but those volunteers in the merchandise tents are getting more than they bargained for right now.

From what I hear, there are looooonnnngggg lines waiting to come in out of the rain and spend some dough -- or at least browse in the dry environment for a while.

I haven't been in there yet this week myself, but from what I've seen, the coolest thing in there is the metal plate replica of the sign outside the first tee, which reads: "WARNING: The Black Course Is An Extremely Difficult Course Which We Recommend For Highly Skilled Golfers."

If somebody grabs one for me, I'll pay you back.


11:46 a.m. ET: E-mail from Eddie in Nashville:

What is THE STUPIDEST question or comment anyone has sent you today?

That one.


11:40 a.m. ET: At least there are four players who may not be too upset about the weather conditions.

It's one thing to get on top of the U.S. Open leaderboard for a few minutes, but Jeff Brehaut, Johan Edfors, Andrew Parr and Ryan Spears will each be able to tell their grandkids someday about that glorious day they spent hours in the lead. Hey, they could even be the overnight leaders!

You know what, though? I'm gonna come out and say it right now: Not one of those players will win this tournament. I know; that's a crazy thought to believe that a partial Round 1 leader won't be able to bring home the title. But I'm just telling you what I believe.


11:33 a.m. ET: Tweet, tweet ...

IanjamespoulterWhat a shame about the rain. I wanted to stay out there I was playing great. I've got 4ft for par on eight. Ball just stopped in a puddle

Hmmm ... someone really likes his chances this week. I forget who ...

Poulter has also posted a photo of the players' lounge, complete with this tweet: "Check out the players lounge, 300 people 100 seats.. Mmm reminds me of a tin sardines. Good job I'm not claustrophobic, big word for me..."


11:31 a.m. ET: E-mail from RW in Parts Unknown:

Thanks for the weather link. I was checking out the mosquito activity which looks to be fairly limited right now, so you got that going for you ...

Uh-huh. And the UV levels aren't very dangerous, either. No sunburn today. Perfect conditions, really.


11:18 a.m. ET: E-mail from Rob in Grand Rapids, Mich.:

What is the projection for the rest of the weekend (and next week) if we are only getting a few holes in today with more rain to come this weekend? Who benefits from stretching this thing out? Who does it hurt? Are we going to finish this thing before the guys need to leave for Turnberry!?

I sort of answered this before, but let me delve deeper ...

(This is all based on no more golf being played today, which may not be the case, but is a definite possibility.)

Those currently on the course would return to their positions at 7 a.m. Friday (or a little bit earlier, if possible). The afternoon wave would be moved up from its current tee times; instead of beginning at 12:30, they would likely be able to start three hours and 16 minutes earlier, because that's how much golf was played today. So let's call it 9:15 a.m.

After that? I'm not sure if the USGA would send out the Thursday morning wave right after them or keep everything in sequence and let the Thursday afternoon guys try to get in 36 holes -- or as much as they can. From there, the second round would be continued on Saturday morning. If possible, they would start Round 3 in the afternoon, attempting to play as much golf as possible. But it would almost be a certainty that most of the field that makes the cut will be finishing their third rounds on Sunday morning. Then without re-pairing, the entire final round would be played directly thereafter. In fact, we could even see a scenario in which players are sent off both the first and 10th tees in the final two rounds.

It's very conceivable that someone could finish on the ninth green at 4 p.m. on Sunday, then wait for a few hours before being named the champion.

As for next week, no, the USGA does not want this to drag out until Monday or even Tuesday, but the tournament won't be shortened to 54 holes just to get guys to the Travelers Championship any quicker, either. So they'll play 72, no matter how long it takes.


11:13 a.m. ET: Here is the Weather.com forecast for the area.

One quick note: While the wind (17-24 mph right now) makes play difficult and slows down the proceedings when they're on the course, it will actually help dry out the course when -- OK, if -- the rain stops. So we've got that going for us ... which is nice.


11:02 a.m. ET: Tweet, tweet ...

rui_m_borges@JasonSobel play suspended and more rain today,I guess players who have not tee'd off have the advantage. Tomorrow's weather:cloudy-no rain.

Yes, but for more reasons than just having to tee off in the wet conditions earlier today. All depends on when they get back out there, but those who didn't tee off yet would then be playing tomorrow afternoon and early Saturday, while I suppose the players who are "on the course" will be back out for Round 2 on Saturday afternoon. All just a guess right now.

Still too early to extrapolate that far, but remember: Unlike the Masters, which usually has about 90 players in the field, the Open goes 156 deep. That's a packed lineup without any weather delays. No doubt we'll see a really long Sunday in which much (if not all) of the third round is played, followed by the fourth round. Give the advantage to the more fit players and don't be surprised if the eventual winner finishes playing a few hours before the final group finishes.

amolyajnik@JasonSobel: I guess Sergio will complain this year that they blew the horn because Tiger was out there.

Ha! Kicking myself because I didn't think of that one first.

BlairWhitt@JasonSobel What do players do while play is suspended? I'm assuming not go to the bar like folks at their own club. And what do you do?

There are likely 156 players in the crowded clubhouse right now getting very acquainted with each other while checking out The Weather Channel. Me? I sit here and post limericks to the live blog. Duh.

Cullen4@JasonSobel If the Open were called right now, Poulter will have beaten Tiger, validating your rankings. All those haters better recognize!

Shhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!


10:58 a.m. ET: Was just speaking with an esteemed colleague about what he should write for a column today, should there be no more golf played and no one gets past 11 holes for the day.

My suggestion: An interview with Mother Nature, who is apparently an angry golf widow intent on ruining the game by attempting to adversely affect every major championship. Or maybe watching golf makes her sad and those raindrops are her tears.

Hey, it's not my column; I'm just the idea man.


10:52 a.m. ET: Um, I was kidding about the "seen any good movies?" thing ...

From Brent in Parts Unknown:

Went and saw "The Hangover" last weekend. Pretty sure that is an instant classic.

From James in Indianapolis:

Go see "The Hangover." Funniest movie in a long, long time.

From J.P. in Columbia, Mo.:

Just saw "The Hangover" last night. Hilarious! What tour players would you want to hang in Vegas with?

See, now that is a good rain delay question.

John Daly would be too easy an answer. And our story may wind up just like the movie.

Tiger Woods is too easy, as well. Would need a little privacy -- and I don't mean his yacht.

I'm going with Pat Perez, Anthony Kim and, just for the hell of it, Woody Austin. I've heard rumors that witnessing Woody on a cold streak at the blackjack table is akin to watching him miss about six straight two-footers for par.


10:45 a.m. ET: As mentioned, I'll be updating you with information whenever it becomes available.

But it's not looking good.

Like I told Cowherd, even if the sun came out right this second and it warmed up another 20 degrees, it would take the grounds crew at least a few hours to get the course playable once again -- if not all day. Considering it's still raining out and not warming up at all, I wouldn't be surprised if we've seen the last of any golf being played for the day.

That's just a hunch, but I don't have a good feeling about things right now.


10:36 a.m. ET: Well, since they're not playing any golf ... and since we won't get an update for a while ... and since there's nothing else to do ...

I really should be more careful what I wish for.

From Travis in Parts Unknown:

At Bethpage Black, the mighty public course
Good ol' Sobel thinks he has found his horse
At No. 1 Woods is found not
There Ian Poutler is caught
Combating the Blog Jinx in all its force.

From James in Parts Unknown:

That place they call Bethpage Black
It sure is a heckuva track
A pro from the tour
Might shoot 94
With a 5 under par on the back!

From Merle in Columbus, Ohio:

There's a course called Bethpage in New York
Where the talk is of swing planes and torque
But this wind and this rain
Has become quite a pain
Still, the bubbly is Tiger's to uncork.

From Zach in Houston:

On the golf course called Bethpage Black
A tournament can't stay on track
Because Tiger and friends
Are at their wits ends
With weather that won't hold back.

From Eddie in Dublin, Ireland:

There once was a man named Tiger
Who is playing with a duck and a grinder
The Duck loves the wet
And Tiger is worth a bet
But poor Paddy just needs an extra ball finder.

Thanks, people. That should be enough to hold us over ... for a few minutes, at least.


10:27 a.m. ET: Spanning the Globe with Colin Cowherd ...

Back in a few.


10:22 a.m. ET: Updating the leaderboard, the predictable, ho-hum, same-as-usual foursome on top is, of course, Jeff Brehaut, Johan Edfors, Andrew Parr and Ryan Spears.

Aren't you sick of seeing the same players leading these major championships year after year?

Some other big names ...

Angel Cabrera: Even (6)
Vijay Singh: +1 (8)
Henrik Stenson: +1 (6)
Geoff Ogilvy: +1 (5)
Jim Furyk: +1 (5)
Paul Casey: +1 (5)
Tiger Woods: +1 (6)
Zach Johnson: +2 (5)
Boo Weekley: +2 (4)
Padraig Harrington: +4 (6)


10:18 a.m. ET: Who's ready for another edition of "Rain Delay Live Blog?"

So ... anyone see any good movies or anything?

In all seriousness, I'll stay right here, providing weather updates and answering e-mails and tweets until they get back on the course.

Some bad news: It is raining harder, actually, right now and instead of just moving players off the holes, they're taking 'em all the way back into the clubhouse.

That early-morning forecast called for periods of dry weather during midday, so let's remain optimistic and hope they can get back out there pretty soon. But there is some damage being done to the course right now. Even if/when the rain stops, it will take time to get the course ready and prepared for play. We could be without live golf for a little while.


10:16 a.m. ET: Three hours and 16 minutes.

That's how long it took until the first horn of the week. Play has been stopped, because parts of the course have been deemed unplayable. Those currently on a hole may opt to finish that hole since it's not a dangerous situation (no lightning), but everyone will be off the course within the next 10 minutes or so.


10:11 a.m. ET: We've gone more than two hours without any haikus. Might be a record or something.

From Kevin in Louisville:

It is a deep field
Several in contention
Tiger Woods will win

Eh, boring.

From Unknown in East Tennessee:

Tiger and field at
Bethpage Black waiting for a
Mere zephyr of wind

Uh ... not bad?

From Stephen in Farmersville, Ohio:

Bethpage is soggy
Players will swim tee to green
Can Phelps win this, too?

Ummm ...

Nice effort, folks. Maybe I'm just more of a limerick guy.


10:05 a.m. ET: The bounce-back statistic is so important -- not only on the scorecard, but it helps get a player back in the right mental frame of mind, too.

After that double on 5, Tiger just followed with a birdie on 6. That should give him a little confidence boost -- yes, even TW needs those once in a while -- heading into the lengthy par-4 seventh hole.


10:01 a.m. ET: Some more notes on today's course and its setup, from Mike Davis, USGA senior director for Rules and Competitions:

• Green speeds: Last night, after six days of trying, we finally reached the lower end of our desired range -- an average of 14 feet on the Stimpmeter. With the rain overnight and early Thursday, the greens have likely slowed to the low- to mid-13 range.

• All fairways and roughs (except fescue) were mown last night.

• We began to use squeegees to remove water from the putting greens at approximately 7:30 a.m.


9:57 a.m. ET: The Ochocinco mark -- or is it just ochocinco? -- is in serious doubt already.

David Horsey just made the turn in 45 strokes, meaning he's got to play the back nine in 4-over or better to avoid that number.

And he'll need to shoot even-par to save from shooting a Big Ben or worse.


9:53 a.m. ET: E-mail from Eric in Lenexa, Kan.:

U.S. Open Drinking Game: Take a drink every time Tiger puts on or takes off his rain jacket.

If you've been doing that so far, I'm surprised you were still sober enough to type that e-mail.

Woods has been removing the jacket for his tee shots, then putting it back on when he gets near the green. Hmmm ... perhaps he's contractually obligated by Nike to show off the latest polo.

(That was a joke. He's not.)


9:49 a.m. ET: Tweet, tweet ...

justinherzog@JasonSobel What about the pairing of Quiros, Holmes and Watney. has there ever been a group that averages 1000 yards combined off the tee?

Great way to put it into perspective.

Might not reach 1,000 on these wet fairways, though; in fact, I doubt they get to 900. Even so, those are three bombers. Wonder if Bubba Watson is feeling left out.

By the way, I'm constantly checking the Twitter feed, so if e-mail is too, uh, time-intensive for you, hit me on there to be included here on the live blog.


9:42 a.m. ET: Quick leaderboard check shows that of the 78 players who have currently finished one hole or more (that's the entire morning wave), only three are under par: Jeff Brehaut, Michael Sim and Andrew Parr.

Eighteen others are currently at even-par, a group that included one other player until just now.

After that poor tee shot on No. 5, Tiger Woods can only manage double-bogey, dropping to 2-over after opening with four straight pars.


9:32 a.m. ET: More prop bets coming in ...

From Scott in Geneva:

Over/under players ending today under par: 1.5. Over/under leader's score -- last place score (that doesn't W/D): 15.

Done and done. Good ones ...

From Paul in Fort Worth, Texas:

With the weather playing like it is, I would possibly give the advantage to the Europeans. With that said, over/under Americans in the top-20 after Round 1: 8.

I think that's low. Let's set it at 10.5.

From Pat in Charlotte, N.C.:

Chances the weather will push the final round to Monday: -150.

I'll take some action against that one.

Keep 'em coming. Oh, and someone keep me honest on these at the end of the day/week, too!


9:27 a.m. ET: After four straight pars, Tiger Woods hits driver on the fifth tee and sprays it way right.

Woods blurted out a "goddamn it!" after impact, as his ball hits a tree and comes down in the really thick stuff right of the fairway.


9:24 a.m. ET: Blog Jinx!

Not included in that latest list of leaders was Michael Campbell. After I made fun of him following that opening-hole birdie, he countered with double on the next to drop to 1-over.

I know he's playing with an injury, but I bet the former champ has carded nearly as many doubles as birdies in recent months.


9:21 a.m. ET: Parr just made a birdie.

No, nobody is getting strokes here at the U.S. Open. (And no, I haven't forgotten how to spell "par.")

That would be Canadian Tour regular Andrew Parr, who just posted a birdie on the opening hole to move into a share of the lead with Jeff Brehaut, Michael Sim and Justin Leonard.


9:18 a.m. ET: Let's not forget our prop bets for Round 1. From yesterday's blog ...

3:15 p.m. ET: About to wrap up the live blog in a little while, but let's get in the right frame of mind for tomorrow with a few early prop bets ...

From Jim in Parts Unknown:

Set the over/under for us: There are 51 players making their first appearance in this year's U.S. Open in a field of 156. How many will make the cut? Five? Five?! I'll take the over all the way to the bank!

Let's set that over/under at a still-conservative 12. That should at least make you think a bit.

From Twitter:

sacsim@jasonsobel Any word from the 18th how some of the amateurs are scoring out there? Early predictions on high round for Thursday? u/o 88?

Hmmm ... 88? I think that could be a bit high. Let's call it an Ocho-Cinco for the worst score of the day.

Anyone have any others? Anyone?


9:11 a.m. ET: Jim Hyler just spoke with the media, addressing some concerns about today's round.

• Four of the holes have been moved up. No. 7 (525 yards on the scorecard) is playing 489; No. 9 (460) is playing 419; No. 10 (508) is playing 478; and No. 12 (504) is playing 499.

• Some original pin placements have been adjusted to avoid spots on the greens that are retaining more water.

• Every hole has a squeegee crew ready to clear off water when necessary.

• USGA officials are most concerned with the fairways on Nos. 1 and 18, each of which collect a lot of the runoff water from the ground near the clubhouse that filters down.


9:03 a.m. ET: I was floored when I heard that last week's Golf Digest U.S. Open Challenge round that featured Michael Jordan, Ben Roethlisberger, Justin Timberlake and Larry the Cop took six hours and 20 minutes.

Well, today's rounds will be quicker -- but maybe not by much.

Through just over two hours, the opening groups are just now playing their eighth hole. And, of course, that's with no one in front of them.

Gotta believe that we'll have at least five-hour rounds, maybe up to 5:30 as the day wears on. Even without any delays, it could be tough for all 156 players to complete their rounds.


8:57 a.m. ET: Best part about the U.S. Open being held here? Real New York bagels for breakfast.

I'm guessing the fare will be a little different at Turnberry next month ...


8:47 a.m. ET: If you've ever stood on a tee box and thought about the actual task at hand, it would seem so daunting that you'd likely psych yourself out before ever taking a swing.

Wait, so I'm supposed to use this bag of sticks ... to hit this little white ball ... into a hole in the ground ... that's about one-third of a mile from here ... in how many strokes???

Chances are, some semblance of those sentiments will be felt by many competitors on the seventh tee this week. Playing as a 525-yard par-4, though, I think this hole could serve as a great case study for a player's mental toughness and approach to the game.

Allow me to explain ...

There are some who will stand on the tee box and think, "What a tough par-4. Gonna be difficult to make par here." Meanwhile, there are others who will view it with the thought process of, "Looks like a pretty easy par-5. I should be able to make birdie."

Each player is trying to make a 4 on the hole, but with an entirely different mindset. They could probably teach entire college psychology classes based on these differing approaches. Bob Rotella would have a field day.

I mention this now because the first group of the day has finally reached the seventh tee. Expect it to be a key hole throughout the week.


8:41 a.m. ET: Blog Jinx!

Well, that didn't take long. After proclaiming Vijay Singh and Drew Weaver to be headed to a two-man playoff for the title, each counters with a bogey on his next hole to drop to even-par.

I've written a few times this week about how patience is the most important part of a player's game at the Open ... but maybe it has more to do with staying out of the live blog over the first three-and-a-half days.

In related news, Andres Romero and 2005 champ Michael Campbell have each birdied the 10th hole (their first) and now top the leaderboard at 1-under.

No truth to the rumor that it was actually Cambo's first birdie -- anywhere -- since 2005. He's had a few of 'em. I think.


8:33 a.m. ET: Nothing like having your U.S. Open dreams crushed by 8:33 a.m. on Thursday morning. Young Brit David Horsey, playing in his first U.S. event as a pro, opened with a triple-bogey and is now 4-over through three holes.

Definitely no more Horsey for the course-y jokes from me.


8:26 a.m. ET: Tiger actually has the lead in the USGA's version of the Group of Death.

Padraig Harrington and Angel Cabrera each hit the first green in regulation, but three-putted to make bogey. It may take some time for these players to adjust to the slower greens.

During the USGA's annual pre-tournament news conference yesterday, competition committee chairman Jim Hyler said, "We were hoping to get the greens around 14 to 14.5. The weather has impacted that quite a bit, as we've said, and will continue to say the greens are very soft. This morning we were at about 13.5, and we hope we can maintain that speed throughout the week. Again, weather will possibly impact that."

Even though grounds crews have been squeegee-ing the greens, I have to believe that the overnight rains have left them much slower than 13.5.


8:24 a.m. ET: Be like Mike? Not exactly.

Tiger Woods knocks his second shot into the front greenside bunker, gets up and down from there. No harm, no foul.

Drains an 8-footer for par and gets away with a poor drive on the first hole.


8:22 a.m. ET: If the U.S. Open ended right now ...

Drew Weaver and Vijay Singh would be headed to a playoff, both at 1-under-par.

Of the 36 players who have finished at least one hole so far, they are the only two under par. Twenty others remain at even-par.


8:15 a.m. ET: Spy report from the first tee:

Tiger almost stopped himself mid-backswing. Asked if anyone knew where the ball went. They're all looking left.

Uh, so much for hitting every fairway again, huh?

Using a driver, Woods is likely in the tall fescue down the left side. Hey, at least he's in good company. His buddy Michael Jordan did the same thing last week. Of course, MJ made triple on that hole. TW would like to avoid a similar fate.


8:06 a.m. ET: The grouping of Tiger Woods, Padraig Harrington and Angel Cabrera -- who have combined to win seven of the last eight major championship titles -- are now on the tee.

And -- how embarrassing -- each is dressed in a black jacket and black rainpants. The garb of champions, apparently.

According to most reader e-mails I've received during the past few days, Woods is apparently going to fire an opening-round 51, lead by 16 strokes at day's end and go on to win this event by 100.

That's only a slight exaggeration.

Don't worry, though, folks -- you're in good company. Just two weeks ago, following Tiger's win at his Memorial Tournament, none other than Jack Nicklaus proclaimed, "I suspect [major] No. 15 will come ... in about two weeks. If he drives the ball this way and plays this way, I'm sure it will. And if not, it will surprise me greatly."

Personally, I'm a little skeptical that Woods will race out to a lead in the opening round. I've written this so many times that I should have it programmed into the F9 key on my computer, but here goes one more time: Over the years, Tiger has treated the first round of major championships like the first round of a heavyweight title fight. He doesn't go for the early knockout, instead throwing a few jabs and just feeling out his opponent.

In this instance, recent history backs up my theory, as well. Here are Woods' recent scores in the U.S. Open opening round, with his end-of-day position in parenthesis:

• 2008: 72 (T-19)
• 2007: 71 (T-5)
• 2006: 76 (T-68)
• 2005: 70 (T-10)
• 2004: 72 (T-40)
• 2003: 70 (T-25)
• 2002: 67 (1)
• 2001: 74 (T-63)
• 2000: 65 (1)

Of course, that 67 back in 2002 came right here at Bethpage.

Couldn't see where TW's first tee shot went, but it looked as if he didn't like it ... and may have been thinking about hitting a provisional before starting to walk after it.


8:03 a.m. ET: As promised, here is today's weather report, courtesy of a blue piece of paper handed out in the media center this morning ...

Look for periods of rain today with breezy south to southeast winds. The rain will come in waves of showers, some heavy at times, with an embedded rumble of thunder possible. Right now it appears as though there may be a series of waves of rain this morning. There is a chance that we might slip into a couple-hour break around midday, but another round of rain should move back in by later on this afternoon and into this evening. One more area of showers tonight may bring a better shot at embedded thunderstorms after midnight and up to dawn on Friday morning. A leftover shower or storm cannot be ruled out on Friday, but it is starting to look as though most of Friday should be warmer with a smaller chance of rain. Then another wave of showers and storms is expected heading into Saturday.

Well, that doesn't sound like the worst report ever, especially if we do get that midday break, as forecasted. This place is gonna become extremely messy, though, considering 12 of the 15 previous days also included some precipitation at some point, too.

Didn't realize I'd come to the U.S. Open and see a British Open break out.


8 a.m. ET: Good morning from Bethpage Black, where the most important player at this year's U.S. Open is already on the course and causing a scene. And no, it's not Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson.

Mother Nature dumped some overnight precipitation on the area and more is currently coming down -- and reportedly won't stop for a few days.

I'm not sure exactly how much rain the USGA is expecting, but I did see tournament officials gathering two of every different kind of player into a boat on the 18th fairway. I'll give the complete weather report in an upcoming post, but first, let me address the questions about whether the weather will suspend play at any point. Just my own personal theory, but considering the forecast, I think it will take something pretty fierce for the USGA to blow the horn. If the forecast called for sunny skies later today and throughout the next three days, maybe they'd be more tempted to bring the players in for a little while. But if it's going to remain like this -- at least to some extent -- for much of the rest of the week, well & might as well leave 'em out there playing.

Now, that all goes out the window if the course becomes unplayable. It could mean plugged balls in the rough (those in the fairway can be replaced, though there is no lift, clean and place rule in effect) or puddles in the bunkers and on the greens. And it would only take one unplayable hole to halt play on the other 17.

Same goes for lightning. I don't think there are any players carrying 1-irons this week, which as Lee Trevino used to say, is the only way to avoid being hit. You know, because even God can't hit a 1-iron.

And -- oh, by the way -- there's about a 10-15 mph wind out here right now, too. Just in case playing an ultra-long course being made even longer by the rain wasn't tough enough.

Whew. Never thought I would have needed to take Advanced Meteorology back in college when I was earning my BA in live blogging.

Throw on a hat, rain suit and some galoshes, because I'll be updating the weather and -- just maybe -- a golf tournament throughout the day. As always, you can send any questions, suggestions, comments, threats, limericks, haikus or rap songs to me at usopenblog@gmail.com or Twitter account JasonSobel. And hit the refresh button early and often. Let's get going ...

Jason Sobel | email

Golf Editor, ESPN.com
Jason Sobel, who joined ESPN in 1997, earned four Sports Emmy awards as a member of ESPN's Studio Production department. He became ESPN.com's golf editor in July 2004.