Commentary

Jason Sobel's U.S. Open live blog

Originally Published: June 21, 2009
By Jason Sobel | ESPN.com

Editor's Note: Jason Sobel's live blog will return when play resumes at 9 a.m. ET Monday.

9 p.m. ET: After five days and about 99 inches of rain, somebody is going to win the U.S. Open on Monday.

Probably.

I mean, there is a little rain in the forecast ... and the course is still soggy ... and a playoff could run into darkness ... and ...

No, no. I'm kidding, golf fans. We'll have a champion before sundown on Monday.

Who will it be? That's the $1 million question right now.

Conventional wisdom would take into account the current leaderboard and consider there are really only two choices: Ricky Barnes and Lucas Glover, who are each at 7-under-par, 5 shots clear of anyone else in the field.

Then again, conventional wisdom doesn't watch much golf.

Barnes is a recent Nationwide Tour grad who has barely cracked an egg in the big leagues this season, currently ranked 197th on the PGA Tour money list and 519th on the Official World Golf Ranking. Glover is a talented young player who never seems to be able to put it all together when he's in contention, ranking 87th or worse in final-round scoring average during each of the past three seasons.

ESPN360.com

Monday's final-round U.S. Open coverage
• 9-11:30 a.m. ET -- ESPN
• 11:30 a.m. ET until conclusion -- NBC

Playoff (if necessary, times tentative)
• 1:30-3:30 p.m. ET -- ESPN
• 3:30-5:30 p.m. ET -- NBC

• NOTE: All coverage also on ESPN360.com

Let's break down what each of the contenders need to do and avoid in the continuation of the final round on Monday:

Ricky Barnes (7-under)
Needs to ... calm down, relax and take a deep breath. After playing with a cocksure swagger for the opening 54 holes, Barnes looked downright nervous in the very early part of the final round on Sunday evening. On the opening hole, he chunked a pitch shot that led to bogey. And on No. 2, he snap-hooked a drive into the thick stuff before marking his ball after the horn sounded. He needs to regain a little of that confidence from the first three rounds in order to play his best golf.
Needs to avoid ... reverting to his old ways on the putting greens. Barnes is ranked 192nd on the PGA Tour in putting average -- that's dead last -- but it hadn't shown until his last few holes of Round 3. That's when he missed a pair of 4-foot putts, each leading to bogey. U.S. Open champions don't miss those putts in the final round.

Lucas Glover (7-under)
Needs to ... keep striking the ball the way he has for 55 holes so far. Glover has found 33 of 43 fairways (77 percent) and 45 of 55 greens in regulation (82 percent). That fairways-and-greens formula might be enough to claim the U.S. Open title on Monday. Here's guessing he'd take his chances on 17 more routine pars for a final total of 7-under 273.
Needs to avoid ... falling into the same final-round pratfalls that he's seen over the past few years. Glover has a reputation for getting into contention, then falling off the pace down the stretch. In fact, his only career PGA Tour victory came four years ago, when on his last two holes he drained a 50-foot birdie putt from the fringe and knocked in a 40-foot bunker shot. If he can replicate that feat on Monday, he'll be a hero, but those dramatics are a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.

The field (2-under and below)
Needs to ... pick a number and stick with it. Chances are, the likes of David Duval, Ross Fisher, Hunter Mahan and Phil Mickelson -- each at 2-under -- won't need to post a 63 to win this tournament. Then again, it might take something better than even-par 70. Each guy should have a clear-cut goal in mind and pick and choose his spots.
Needs to avoid ... watching the leaderboard. Barnes and Glover might come back to the pack. Or they might not. None of these players have any control over it, really, so they might as well focus on their own games and not get caught up in what the leaders are doing behind them.

That will do it for the Live Blog today. Thanks for all the e-mails and tweets. I'll be back at 9 a.m. sharp on Monday. Until then, hit 'em straight.


8:13 p.m. ET: E-mail from Karl in Orlando:

Why do the commentators keep saying this is a good thing for Barnes? How much sleep do you think he'll get knowing he's in the middle of choking away the U.S. Open? A 6-shot lead gone in nine holes. Good luck with getting that rest and relaxation before tomorrow morning ...

Can't agree with you there. It took only 6 strokes, but Barnes was in the middle of falling apart. Perhaps this break gives him a reprieve and he comes out stronger in the morning.

Look at it this way: He couldn't come back any worse.

I think it's going to be very beneficial for him to get some rest and come back in the morning.


8:07 p.m. ET: Tiger Woods drains a 10-footer for birdie on the seventh hole and he now joins Soren Hansen among those on the leaderboard at below par for the round.

That's right. Tiger is on the leaderboard.

Currently at even par in a tie for eighth place, it's unrealistic to think TW can catch the leaders at 7-under. But if both Ricky Barnes and Lucas Glover come back to the pack? Well, Woods will be right there waiting for 'em.

Even if they don't, this has a back-door T-3 finish written all over for Woods, doesn't it?


8:05 p.m. ET: Now this is a U.S. Open.

Of the top 11 players on the board right now, only one (Soren Hansen, 1-under through 5) is under par for the final round. Four others are at even par. The other six are all over par.


8:01 p.m. ET: Ha! Just off a snapper, Ricky Barnes will leave that next shot for tomorrow morning.

I don't blame him.


7:59 p.m. ET: The horn just blew, signifying it's time for all of the players to come back to the clubhouse and watch Merlin.

Looks like most will elect to play out the hole, though if I'm Ricky Barnes, I'd get off the course as fast as possible.


7:54 p.m. ET: Speaking of David Duval, where would he be right now if not for his poor starts?

Let's take a look at what he's done in each round:
• Round 1 -- First 3 holes: +2; Last 15 holes: -5
• Round 2 -- First 6 holes: +4; Last 12 holes: -4
• Round 3 -- First 7 holes: +2; Last 11 holes: -2
• Round 4 -- First hole: +1

He's either a poor starter or a great finisher. I'm not sure which.


7:52 p.m. ET: Lucas Glover makes par, Ricky Barnes makes bogey.

And we now have co-leaders at the U.S. Open with 17 holes to play.

The good news for them? At 7-under, there is no one else currently closer than 5 strokes, as David Duval and Ross Fisher each made bogey on the first in front of them.


7:49 p.m. ET: Uh-oh. Somebody looks nervous.

And he just happens to be our leader, Ricky Barnes.

Hitting his third shot on No. 1 from just off the green, Barnes chunks it, leaving it about 35 feet short of the hole.

He rips his par attempt past the hole. He'll have a bogey putt, while Lucas Glover has a birdie putt. Could be a very quick two-shot swing. Or more.


7:37 p.m. ET: And the leaders are on the course. Ricky Barnes and Lucas Glover have successfully maneuvered their way off the first tee and at about five hours after the leaders would have been originally scheduled to begin their final round -- and right about the time someone should be stroking the winning putt -- they are finally out there playing.

How long will it last? Tweet, tweet ...

amolyajnik@JasonSobel: It must be a lot darker out there than TV makes it look if Duval isn't wearing his sunglasses.

It's getting there, and it's gray, but I'd be willing to guess they could go for another 30 minutes or so. We'll see if the Merlin theory holds up.


7:30 p.m. ET: Officially up to 12 hours of Live Blog time today.

Might stay here at the course and blog through the night.


7:27 p.m. ET: Fred Funk had some pretty funny stuff to say about the Bethpage crowds earlier today:

Q: Is anything different about the New York crowd?

FRED FUNK: There's these crowds and there's New York crowds. They're just a little more animated, to say the least, they can get pretty loud. Some of them just want to make themselves heard.

If you had a tape recorder and you taped them and played them back when they were sober they would probably think how much of a [jerk] they are but they don't seem to really care.

Q: Maybe one you can repeat?

FRED FUNK: Hey, "Funk you." They're calling me that. I've heard it before. I heard it before. I heard it in Phoenix a lot. And then when I missed a green, "You funked up."

I don't know what "[jerk]" really is, but it couldn't have been anything good.


7:24 p.m. ET: Tweet, tweet ...

Kenorv@JasonSobel What does Phil do if he is tied for the lead after 4 rounds and there's a playoff? Does he cancel his trip or concede the Open?

Don't worry; he's not going anywhere.

From his interview session yesterday:

Q: Is this going to mess up your vacation plans next week if we're here through Tuesday? You were going to take off and go to some exotic tropical locale?

PHIL MICKELSON: I won't have much turnover time as soon as I get home. But that's fine. We're still going to go.


7:16 p.m. ET: Seems like these ominous signs are lurking everywhere for Ricky Barnes. Here's another one:

Since the Official World Golf Ranking was developed, in 1986, the lowest-ranked player to hold the 54-hole lead and convert it into a U.S. Open victory was Payne Stewart, who was ranked 40th a decade ago.

Here are the lowest-ranked players to lead through three rounds and their eventual results:

1990 -- Mike Donald (126): 2

1990 -- Billy Ray Brown (122): T-3

2006 -- Kenneth Ferrie (102): T-6

1992 -- Gil Morgan (82): T-13

Of course, Barnes is ranked No. 519 in the world -- right in between luminaries Iain Pyman and Titch Moore.


7:04 p.m. ET: A couple of notes on the course setup for Round 4 that I posted earlier:

• So much for that mammoth par-4 seventh hole. It's 525 yards on the card, but never played more than 489 this week.

• Get your sand wedges ready. The 158-yard 14th hole is scaled back to 127.

• There could be some fireworks on the 18th. It's been moved up to 354 yards and may play downwind. Bombs away, fellas.


7:01 p.m. ET: Getting a lot of questions about tomorrow's TV times. Here they are:

Monday final-round coverage (all times ET)
ESPN: 9-11:30 a.m.
NBC: 11:30 a.m. until conclusion
Playoff (tentative times, if necessary)
ESPN: 1:30-3:30 p.m.
NBC: 3:30-5:30 p.m.


6:56 p.m. ET: One final post regarding Poulter's post on Twitter:

Wendy Uzelac, director of rules education projects for the USGA, said Poulter did nothing wrong.

It falls under Rule 14-3 that deals with artificial devices. Since he gained no competitive advantage from this, there is no violation.

She said there is also no rule for this U.S. Open about players having cell phones on the course. That's usually a local rule that some courses and events institute so cell phones aren't going off in someone's backswing. But in the end, Poulter was well within the rules of golf in taking the photo and posting it on his Twitter page.

My bad. You may now return to your regularly scheduled conspiracy theories.


6:54 p.m. ET: How is the course playing so far in the final round?

Of the 28 players who have finished at least one hole, only four are under par, led by Henrik Stenson and Rory McIlroy, who are each 2-under.


6:40 p.m. ET: Here are the course setup details for Round 4:

Green speeds are mid-to-high 13s. Greens were rolled this afternoon during gap between the last group from Round 3 and the start of Round 4. They were not mown because of the extremely wet conditions.

The hole-by-hole notes:

Hole 3: 238 yards, back teeing ground used.

Hole 5: Back teeing ground used.

Hole 6: Very front of forward teeing ground (33 paces up) allowing for choice off tee.

Hole 7: 489 yards; penultimate teeing ground again used because of wet conditions and forecasted north winds (head wind) this afternoon and tomorrow.

Hole 8: 226 yards; back teeing ground to back right hole location. Tee markers set right to bring oak into play, should play into north wind.

Hole 9: Back teeing ground used.

Hole 10: 501 yards; front of back teeing ground used. Should play very long into northerly wind on Sunday.

Hole 11: Tee markers moved down to lower tee (25 yards shorter) that creates truly blind drive; players must pick tree in distance for target.

Hole 13: 555 yards; forward right teeing ground used with center left (only 3 paces) hole location.

Hole 14: 127 yards; hole location set in front left tongue (4 from front, 3 paces from both sides) with tee markers set on front and far left side of teeing ground.

Hole 17: 211 yards; hole locations set close to ridge that bisects green.

Hole 18: 364 yards to middle, 354 yards to hole in center hole location. Hole will play downwind (north wind).


6:31 p.m. ET: Whoa! Did Tiger Woods' opening tee shot on the par-4 first hole get in the hole?

Oh, wait. No, it didn't.

I heard all of those hilarious guys yell, "GET IN THE HOLE!!!" and thought they were onto something for a minute.


6:28 p.m. ET: More USGA conspiracy theories via Twitter ...

jabbered@JasonSobel why stop at 7:55? Because Merlin, a new NBC show, is scheduled to start at 8?

Let's keep an eye on things. If it's still light enough at 7:55 and they blow the horn, then you might be onto something.


6:23 p.m. ET: Regarding the earlier Ian Poulter tweet, I received this e-mail from Bill Moore, executive director of the New York State Golf Association:

Have you seen the Rules Sheet for the Open? I have the USGA "Hard Card" and it makes no mention of cell phones there. We ban them from our events (we just don't want people talking/texting/etc.) and the penalty is a DQ ... but unless it is listed on that sheet, it would not be illegal to chat away as long as there was no advice given. No different than talking to a gallery member.

Huh. I thought it was against USGA rules to use a communication device of any kind on the course -- whether for communicating with others or not -- but I guess I'm wrong.


6:19 p.m. ET: Getting a bunch of questions about why the caddies aren't wearing their bibs.

I don't know the official answer, but my best guess is that tournament officials didn't have time to color-coordinate among the pairings and sent 'em out there without bibs. I bet they'll have 'em tomorrow.

Again, just a guess. Will try to find a definitive answer for you.


6:08 p.m. ET: E-mail from Dion in Toledo, Ohio:

But what do you think the winning number will be when all is said and done? I'm thinking 4-under. That must be roughly what Tiger is aiming at, figuring that if he can somehow get there, the rest will take care of itself.

Tough call. Are Ricky Barnes and Lucas Glover both backing up that much? That would mean a 74 or worse for Barnes and a 73 or worse for Glover. As for Tiger Woods, he'd have to shoot 65.

But I still don't think it would be good enough. I'll set the number at 6-under, though it could even be lower.

What's tipping me off? When I spoke with Mike Davis before the Open, he alluded to the fact that the final round might play easier than the previous ones:

Q: Well, if it's not the USGA's belief that the course should be set up more difficult for each progressing round, is it possible that we could see Bethpage actually play easier Sunday than it does Thursday and Friday?

A: I think it could. To a large extent, it's going to depend on what Mother Nature gives us; if it's windy, then obviously it will play tougher. But yes, that is a definite possibility. I think if you look back at Torrey Pines last year, you'd find that Sunday was actually the easiest of all four days and that didn't just happen out of coincidence. There was a mindset that on certain holes we really wanted to give the players some opportunities to score, give them a little bit more risk-reward, and I think that certainly bears out in how they played.

If that's the case in this week's final round, don't expect both of the leaders to come back. And that means the guys at 3-under or below will need to post a big-time number to win this tournament.


6:02 p.m. ET: The first three groups on either side are now on the course as we slowly make our way into the final round.

Can't imagine even the first pairings will be able to make the turn before darkness sets in, though they might cut it close.

Of course, the first group off No. 1 includes J.B. Holmes and Henrik Stenson, so don't expect 'em to move too quickly.


5:48 p.m. ET: We could have our first Twitter-related controversy of the U.S. Open.

Ian Poulter, fresh off shooting a third-round 73, posted this photo of a ball with mud caked on it at 5:10 p.m. ET after his round.

It was accompanied by the following tweet:

Ianjamespoulter Perfect drive on 10th 235 yards to go into the wind. And that's what you get... Perfect 3 wood straight right into bunker. It's (b#ll s###)

Now, there's a chance this shot could have been taken on the range (though the tweet would suggest otherwise). Or maybe it was from a practice round (but why would he post it four days later?). Or it could have been taken by someone outside the ropes.

But it sure seems to suggest that Poulter took a photo -- either with his cell phone or camera -- during the round and later posted it to his account. Obviously, having such technology on the course is illegal, which means that Poulter could be hearing from the USGA shortly.

Again, I've got to believe he knows the rules enough to not simply start clicking away midround, but it's worth getting his interpretation of what transpired here.


5:36 p.m. ET: E-mail from Michael in Parts Unknown:

I don't understand the rush to start the fourth round today. Playing the fourth round completely on Monday would have permitted the tournament to finally find a rhythm and build some drama with both the players and the fans. The starts and stops have been a real momentum killer but that's been all out of their control. This one seems like a poor decision by the USGA to me.

Let's not be naive. Two hours of filler on NBC isn't exactly what they signed up for, so that's certainly a determining factor as to why we'll see some more live golf today.

But there's another factor, too. Tomorrow's forecast calls for rain in the afternoon. By now, the USGA is likely so spooked by the prospects of any more delays that tournament officials want to play golf whenever possible, as soon as possible.


5:24 p.m. ET: Just received the Round 4 tee times. Play will begin on both tees at 5:45 p.m. ET.

There will be 15 groups off of each tee at eight-minute intervals.

The final pairing of Ricky Barnes and Lucas Glover will tee off at 7:37 p.m. ET.

With the USGA's expected end-time of 7:55 p.m.-ish, don't expect the leaders to play more than one or two holes this evening.


5:18 p.m. ET: It's been noted by a few e-mailers that Hunter Mahan is sporting a moustache today.

Noting it is one thing. Putting it into poetry form is quite another.

Apparently, Jim from Mendocino is working on a book of haiku about Mahan's 'stache. I think it's gonna be a best-seller:

I reach to wipe it
That odd red stain on your lip
My face turns beet red

Dear God, am I 10?
What can I do to grow it?
Yikes! I'm on the tee.

Desperation mounts
Until I hatch a new plan
The Hair Club for Men

It is unruly
Where are her eyebrow tweezers?
Ouch! That really hurts!

My wife detests it
I have time to tend and wax
My weekends are free

Groom it in the morn
Tickle on the upper lip
I missed another cut

Oh, come on. Like you wouldn't keep this book in the bathroom and flip through it every so often?


5:13 p.m. ET: Let's hit the inbox as we wait for the final round to start …

From Eric in Orlando:

If David Duval is 882nd in the world, who is 881st?

That would, of course, be Byun Jin-jae, an amateur from Korea, who is no doubt watching the U.S. Open right now while saying, "I'm better than that guy!"

In related news, Ricky Barnes is ranked No. 519. Which means 518th-ranked Iain Pyman must be kicking himself right now, knowing that could be him leading the U.S. Open.


5:09 p.m. ET: Sort of glossed over it earlier, but Ricky Barnes missed two 4-footers down the stretch, including one that led to bogey on the final hole. Those could loom large when this thing wraps up tomorrow.

Can't say it's unexpected, though, for a guy who ranks dead last in putting average this season.

Let's take a look at his 2009 ranks compared with those of this week at the Open:

2009 PGA Tour season
•Driving accuracy: 169
•Greens in regulation: 105
•Putting average: 192

2009 U.S. Open
•Driving accuracy: 34
•Greens in regulation: 4
•Putting average: 15


5:05 p.m. ET: Here is an ominous sign for Ricky Barnes and Lucas Glover heading into the final round, courtesy of the ESPN Stats and Information department:

Lowest 54-hole scores in U.S. Open history
• Jim Furyk, 2003, Olympia Fields: 200 (-10)
• Ricky Barnes, 2009, Bethpage Black: 202 (-8)
• Lucas Glover, 2009, Bethpage Black: 203 (-7)
• Stephen Leaney, 2003, Olympia Fields: 203 (-7)
• Lee Janzen, 1993, Baltusrol: 203 (-7)
• Tze-Chung Chen, 1985, Oakland Hills: 203 (-7)
• George Burns, 1981, Merion: 203 (-7)

What's so ominous about this list? Only two of the previous five players -- Jim Furyk and Lee Janzen -- held on for the victory.


5:01 p.m. ET: And after 18 holes … the leaders are right back where they started.

Ricky Barnes and Lucas Glover each shot even-par 70 to secure a place in the final pairing of the final round.

Barnes will enter as the leader at 8-under, with Glover one shot further back. David Duval and Ross Fisher are each 5 strokes off the lead.


4:59 p.m. ET: Is this still a tale of two waves?

Every player currently at T-5 or better played in the original Thursday afternoon draw that received favorable scoring conditions over the first two rounds.

The highest player on the leaderboard who came from the other draw? Bubba Watson, who is T-8 right now.


4:53 p.m. ET: Getting a ton of e-mails about fourth-round starting times. As far as I know, the same plan has been in place all day. Once all players are finished, they will re-pair and send 'em out in twosomes off both tees.

Expect a delay, though. According to the USGA's Mike Davis, it takes 25 minutes to shuttle players out to No. 10 tee. Sounds strange, considering I could pass about 10 exits on the Long Island Expressway in that amount of time, but supposedly that's partially the cause for the delay between the two rounds.


4:42 p.m. ET: David Duval isn't going away.

We've seen him play well in major championships the past few years, but the third round always seems to be his blow-up round.

At the 2006 U.S. Open, Duval shot 75 on Saturday en route to a T-16 result.

At last year's British Open, he played in the penultimate pairing in Round 3, only to shoot 83 and finish T-39.

This time? It didn't happen. Following rounds of 67-70, Duval shot an even-par 70 -- four birdies, four bogeys -- to stay right in contention entering the final round.

Duval will go to the final 18 at 3-under with a spot in the second-to-last pairing of the round.

Great story so far. Will be unbelievable if he can actually win this thing.


4:37 p.m. ET: E-mail from David in Parts Unknown:

Check out Ricky Barnes' season-long putting stats heading into this week. (Hint: Check dead last.)

Unbelievable. The guy is ranked 192nd out of 192 players in putting average.

And right on cue … he drains a 20-footer on No. 17 to move back to 9-under.

I don't even know how to explain it, though this performance does remind me of Trevor Immelman, who ranked close to dead last in putting prior to last year's Masters. And we all know how that one turned out.


4:31 p.m. ET: You know, it would have been a whole lot easier had the final pairing just walked to the 17th tee and played the last two holes starting right now.

Ricky Barnes started at 8-under. He's posted an eagle, two birdies and four bogeys and currently stands at 8-under.

Lucas Glover started at 7-under. He's posted four birdies, two bogeys and a double and currently stands at 7-under.

Let's call it all square with two to play in the third round.

Right now, there's no one else closer than Ross Fisher, in the clubhouse at 3-under following a 69.


4:22 p.m. ET: If Phil Mickelson shot a topsy-turvy 69, then I suppose Tiger Woods shot a disappointing 68.

Seriously, I had to triple-check his scorecard when TW finished a few minutes ago. But that's the case -- three birdies, just one bogey for a 2-under round.

Why was it so disappointing? Because it appeared he missed about a dozen makeable putts. Seriously. If his flatstick was working today, Woods could have shot a 56 and had the trophy in the trunk of his courtesy car before the final round ever began.

OK, fine, so that's an exaggeration … but it's not too far off. Tiger seemingly missed putts on nearly every hole. If just half of those drop for him, it's a major championship single-round record of 62. That's a huge if, obviously, but it wasn't that far off.

Instead, he is currently 1-over for the tourney, in a share of 15th place and 9 shots behind Ricky Barnes. Even if he can narrow that margin to zero, I've got to think there are too many players between him and the lead for his 15th major victory to happen. Then again, he's made a habit of coming from behind in the final round in each of his two wins this season.


4:11 p.m. ET: I've been calling it a roller coaster round.

How would Phil Mickelson describe his 1-under 69? "I guess up and down would be the easy way to say it," he told NBC.

No kidding.

Mickelson is now all the way up to a share of third place. So, what does he think of his chances at winning this tournament?

"I'm one good round away," he said. "I'm making enough birdies to shoot 5- or 6-under with a bogey or two."

Not exactly going out on a limb here, but I'll make this call: If Phil shoots 5- or 6-under in the final round, he'll own his first U.S. Open title.


4:02 p.m. ET: Please wait until the Phil Mickelson Roller Coaster has come to a complete stop before unfastening your safety belts. If you need medical attention, there is personnel on duty.

On No. 18, Lefty snakes in his second long birdie putt in three holes to shoot one of the most topsy-turvy rounds of 1-under 69 that you'll ever see.

Mickelson posts seven birdies, six pars, four bogeys and a double, but now that it is all said and done, he finishes at 2-under for the tournament through 54 holes. That currently puts him in a share of fifth place, 7 shots behind Barnes but only 4 out of second place.


3:54 p.m. ET: E-mail from Dan in Parts Unknown:

Lots of people seem to be complaining about the lack of big names on the leaderboard right now. Personally, I think it is great to see lots of young guys playing well. I'm excited to see that 5 of the 11 guys in red right now are Americans 30 or younger. Should be great for our future Ryder Cup chances and for the sport in general. Tiger and Phil won't be golfing forever.

Two years ago, I wrote a few columns about the demise of the young American golfer. At the time, not only were U.S.-born players under 30 not winning tournaments, they weren't even contending.

A lot has changed since then. Not only have players like Anthony Kim and J.B. Holmes won titles, but many others are capable of playing really good golf on any given week.

Right now, that list includes Ricky Barnes, Lucas Glover, Hunter Mahan, Sean O'Hair and Bubba Watson, each of whom is currently in contention here at the U.S. Open.


3:50 p.m. ET: There are only two par-5 holes here at the Black Course this week, but Ricky Barnes is taking advantage of them.

With a birdie on No. 13, Barnes is now 4-under on his six par-5 holes so far.

That's better than anyone else in the top-19.


3:36 p.m. ET: E-mail from Kevin at St. Andrews:

There has been a lot of talk about Barnes coming back to the field, talk of Gil Morgan and other famous collapses. Is this because we're looking forward to it in a watching-a-train-wreck sort of way? Or because we know it's going to be painful to watch a Norman-esque choke job and we're mentally steeling ourselves for it? For me it's the second, because I can't even imagine how devastating it would be to be 11-under in the third round of the U.S. Open with a 6-7 stroke lead and somehow lose it. But I'm curious as to why everyone else is responding this way.

I think it's mostly for the same reason -- that recent tweet notwithstanding.

I doubt too many fans know enough about Barnes to root against him and look forward to the collapse. Instead, it seems like it may be an inevitable scenario, so folks are just bracing themselves for the downfall that may happen on their TV screens pretty soon.


3:35 p.m. ET: Hunter Mahan is in the clubhouse with a third-round 2-under 68 that currently has him at 2-under for the tournament and in a share of fifth place.

It's not inconceivable that another 68 in the final round could give him the outright title or at least a spot in a playoff.


3:29 p.m.: First 3-putt of the week for Ricky Barnes on the 12th hole. After starting 4-under for his first five holes, he's now 3-over in his last six.

That drops him to 8-under, just 2 strokes in front of Lucas Glover and 5 ahead of Todd Hamilton and Mike Weir.


3:25 p.m. ET: The tweeters are feeling frisky ...

cbgolfer13@JasonSobel I normally don't root against people but I kinda hope that Ricky Barnes falls apart, he is way too cocky for me to like.

Barnes definitely has a swagger about him. Teetering on the border between confident and cocky.

SocraticGadfly@JasonSobel PhillyMick = Villegas?

It's not like Mickelson has ever been a par machine. So far today he's carded five birdies, fives pars, four bogeys and one double.

cjzero@jasonsobel Look at that leaderboard... Man, this Southern Farm Bureau Classic is making for great golf...

Ouch. True ... but ouch.


3:12 p.m. ET: So ... it's been awhile since we last heard from Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. That's because they're both out of the mix. Uh ... right?

Check out these numbers:

at 2 ET
Barnes -11 (thru 6)
Glover -7 (thru 6)
Mickelson +1 (thru 10)
Woods +3 (thru 9)

at 3 ET
Barnes -9 (in trouble at 11)
Glover -5 (through 10)
Mickelson -1 (thru 14)
Woods +1 (thru 13)

If Barnes keeps backing up, is it possible that Phil and Tiger are back in the mix? Nah, couldn't be ... or could it?


3:01 p.m. ET: ESPNEWS interview. Back in a few ...


2:56 p.m. ET: Ricky Barnes can't get up and down out of the tall stuff on No. 10, making bogey to drop to 9-under.

That leads to this e-mail from Alex in Farmington, Conn.:

In the 1982 Open Championship, unheralded Bobby Clampett took a 7-stroke lead early in the third round before taking four to get out of a fairway bunker and falling off the leaderboard. Ten years later, at the U.S. Open, Gil Morgan got to 12-under at Pebble Beach before going 17-over for his final 29 holes. How likely do you think an implosion of this magnitude will occur to Ricky Barnes?

Well, I don't think it's unlikely. Barnes has been the only guy making things look easy so far today, but at some point, the course is going to bite back. After all, it's not nearly as easy as he's making it look.

And oh by the way, Lucas Glover counters with birdie. That's a 2-shot swing and he's now within 4 strokes of the lead.


2:45 p.m. ET: In the Official World Golf Ranking, Ricky Barnes is currently ... wait for it ... 519th.

Hard to believe there are 518 guys in the world better than him, huh?

If he wins, he would be the lowest-ranked player to win a major championship since the OWGR was founded in 1986.

Here's the current list ...

Ben Curtis, 2003 British Open: 396
Shaun Micheel, 2003 PGA Championship: 169
John Daly, 1991 PGA Championship: 168
Paul Lawrie, 1999 British Open: 159
John Daly, 1995 British Open: 109
Steve Jones, 1996 U.S. Open: 100

A little perspective: When Daly won the PGA in '91, he was hailed as a total unknown, an incredible out-of-nowhere story. And he was ranked 351 spots higher than Barnes is currently.


2:43 p.m. ET: E-mail from Howard in Parts Unknown:

From his 12-under perch in 1992, Dr. Gil Morgan finished 77-81 for T-13 at 5-over. Hunter Mahan, you could be Tom Kite for the 21st century!

Great point.

Anyone ready to give this championship to Ricky Barnes -- even with a 6-stroke lead with 27 holes to play -- should heed the warning of Dr. Gil.


2:40 p.m. ET: If the final round ended right now ...

We would get that rematch of the 2002 U.S. Amateur final between Ricky Barnes and Hunter Mahan.

Mahan is now 4-under for his round and 4-under for the tourney, tied for second place with Lucas Glover and 1 stroke ahead of the scuffling Mike Weir and four others.


2:24 p.m. ET: How's that Phil Mickelson Roller Coaster? Feeling queasy yet?

Here's the breakdown of his third round so far ...

Eagles: 0
Birdies: 3
Pars: 4
Bogeys: 3
Doubles: 1

He played six straight holes (Nos. 5-10) without a par (bogey, double, birdie, birdie, bogey, bogey) before finally making a par on No. 11.


2:19 p.m. ET: E-mail from Mike in Texas:

If I'm hovering around even par, I'm thinking that this is nowhere close to being over. Barnes might be at 10-under, but the rest of the field is backing up big time, with Glover's double and Weir's three bogeys in a row. A score of 3- or 4-under might still win this thing. Barnes is playing great, but he is not Tiger and could easily crumble.

I agree with you ... to an extent. I think there are some more bogeys out there for Barnes. But I also don't see him playing his final 29 holes in, say, 7-over. It could certainly happen and I've seen enough golf tournaments to never declare it over at the midway point of the third round -- especially when an unproven player is leading -- but I'd set the winning score at about 6-under right now.

That means Barnes can play the final 29 holes in 4-over while Glover, Weir or anyone else would have to play under par for that span. Not impossible by any means, but a difficult task nonetheless.


2:12 p.m. ET: Earlier I mentioned how this must be a U.S. Open because Ricky Barnes made par and gained a stroke on his nearest competitors.

Well, he just made bogey on No. 7 ... and accomplished the same thing.

Playing with Barnes, Lucas Glover carded a double. Meanwhile, Mike Weir has made three straight bogeys.

Let the dust settle and you'll see that Barnes now leads by five strokes, as Glover and Weir have nearly backed up to the pack at 3-under and below.


2:01 p.m. ET: ESPNEWS interview. Back in a few ...


1:58 p.m. ET: This just in: The U.S. Open might be over on Sunday after all.

I'm not ready to give this title to Ricky Barnes just yet. I still think there's a big number lurking out there for him, but if he can continue what he's doing, tomorrow's final round could simply be a victory march around Bethpage.

Don't get me wrong. Not saying that will happen, but it's certainly feasible right now.


1:55 p.m. ET: I've been getting some e-mails asking the question: Is Tiger Woods out of contention yet?

The defending champion is 14 strokes off the lead with 27 to play.

Do the math.


1:51 p.m. ET: Mike Weir made bogey on No. 6, then Lucas Glover followed with one on that same hole.

Ricky Barnes has a little knee-knocker to avoid the same fate ... and he makes it.

Hey, this is a U.S. Open after all. By just making par, Barnes picks up a stroke on his nearest competitors, leading Glover by four and Weir by five.


1:44 p.m. ET: Prior to the tournament, Las Vegas oddsmakers had Ricky Barnes anywhere from 750-to-1 to 1,000-to-1 to win the U.S. Open.

If someone out there actually took some action on this, I want to hear about it. And yes, I'll need to see some proof.

Still want to bet on Barnes to win? You can ... but the odds aren't quite as long. He's currently a 12-to-5 favorite.


1:35 p.m. ET: Ricky Barnes with a birdie putt on No. 6 to become the third player ever to reach 12-under at a U.S. Open ... and he misses.

Wow, it's almost surprising when he doesn't make one right now.

Meanwhile, Hunter Mahan is still moving along nicely at 3-under for the day through 10 holes.

If the two players were to meet in a playoff tomorrow, it wouldn't be the first time they went head-to-head with a USGA title on the line.

Back in 2002, Barnes defeated Mahan, 2 and 1, in the final of the 2002 U.S. Amateur.

Can you say rematch?

If they don't feel like there's enough on the line, perhaps they can play for the right to the 2003 Ben Hogan Award, which annually goes to the nation's top collegiate golfer. Barnes and Mahan shared the award that year.


1:32 p.m. ET: Mike Weir is trying to keep pace with the leaders, making birdie on the fifth hole after opening with four straight pars.

Of the current top three, a victory by Weir would be much more popular with both diehard fans and casual ones alike than one for Barnes and Glover.

And really, it would only be fair if a Canadian won the U.S. Open. After all, an American -- Chez Reavie -- is the reigning Canadian Open champ.


1:30 p.m. ET: What do Ricky Barnes and I have in common? We're both wearing a hat designed by Back 9 USA.

Mine is, uh, slightly more conventional.


1:20 p.m. ET: Ricky Barnes? Moving to 10-under? Nah, couldn't happen, right?

Right.

He just skipped right past 10 and went to 11-under instead.

Barnes converts a 20-foot eagle putt on the fourth hole to move to 3-under through four holes here in Round 3 while joining some pretty heady company. The list of players to reach that level at any point during a U.S. Open now reads Tiger Woods, Gil Morgan, Jim Furyk ... and Ricky Barnes.

That eagle was just the fourth of this championship and first of the third round.

Lucas Glover countered with a birdie of his own to move to 8-under, but Barnes leads by three, is five clear of Mike Weir in third place and eight strokes in front of everyone else.

It's way too early to call this a three-man race, but ...

It's starting to look like a three-man race.

Or a one-man race, if Barnes keeps playing like this.

Whatever happens from here on in, it's his tourney to win or lose. Barnes will either be the hero or the goat.


1:08 p.m. ET: Ask and ye shall receive. From the ESPN Stats and Information department:

The last player to reach double-digits under par was Jim Furyk in 2003 at Olympia Fields. Furyk reached 10-under at the turn in the third round, then again on the 15th hole and 18th hole, ending the round at 10-under. He then reached 11-under on the sixth hole of the final round before finishing at 8-under.

Here is a list of the most strokes under par at any point in U.S. Open history:

12 -- Tiger Woods (fourth round), Pebble Beach Golf Links, 2000
12 -- Gil Morgan (third round), Pebble Beach Golf Links, 1992
11 -- Jim Furyk, Olympia Fields C.C. (North Course), Olympia Fields, Ill., 2003
9 -- Ben Hogan, Riviera C.C., Los Angeles, Calif., 1948
9 -- Jack Nicklaus, Baltusrol G.C. (Lower Course), Springfield, N.J., 1980
9 -- Tim Simpson, Medinah (Ill.) C.C. (No. 3 course), 1990
9 -- Scott Simpson, Medinah (Ill.) C.C. (No. 3 course), 1990
9 -- Jeff Sluman, Medinah (Ill.) C.C. (No. 3 course), 1990
9 -- Mike Donald, Medinah (Ill.) C.C. (No. 3 course), 1990
9 -- Nick Price, Olympia Fields C.C. (North Course), Olympia Fields, Ill., 2003
9 -- Vijay Singh, Olympia Fields C.C. (North Course), Olympia Fields, Ill., 2003

Let's add Ricky Barnes to those at 9-under and it could get to double-digits very shortly. The current leader just bombed his drive on the par-5 fourth hole. If he can convert into birdie, he'd be the first person to reach 10-under at the U.S. Open since Furyk in 2003.


1:01 p.m. ET: ESPNEWS interview. Back in a few ...


12:55 p.m. ET: New attraction at Bethpage State Park: The Phil Mickelson Roller Coaster.

Lefty has now gone birdie-bogey-double in his last three holes, as the coaster looks to be in a downward spiral.

He's now in a share of 21st place, over par for the first time since the 10th hole of Round 2.

Mickelson birdied Nos. 5 and 6 in the second round; he just went bogey-double in Round 3. That's a 5-stroke differential.

Ouch.


12:50 p.m. ET: When was the last time a player got it to double-digits under par at the U.S. Open?

Might need to go uncover that fact, considering Ricky Barnes just birdied the second hole to move to 9-under.

How improbable is this? In his best finish in relation to par in a dozen previous starts this season, Barnes was 2-under at the Byron Nelson Championship.

He now leads by two over Lucas Glover.


12:44 p.m. ET: Currently, eight of the 60 players on the course are under par in their third rounds, led by Hunter Mahan, who has posted three birdies in his first seven holes.

He's been knocking on the door in this event the past two years, finishing T-13 at Oakmont and T-18 at Torrey Pines.

Mahan is among the most talented players on the PGA Tour, having won at every level of golf in which he's played, so don't be surprised to see him on the leaderboard throughout the remainder of the tournament.


12:41 p.m. ET: Look, I'm not gonna spend too much time discussing a player who is currently 11 shots back and ostensibly out of contention.

But when that player is Tiger Woods and he's blowing 4-foot putts three feet past the hole, it's worth a mention.

That was dreadful. Really. The 8-12 footers are one thing, but that miss on No. 13 was perhaps the worst stroke I've seen from TW so far this season.


12:34 p.m. ET: E-mail from Michael in Florida:

Who do you think stands a better chance of staying up at the top: Lucas Glover or Ricky Barnes? While Lucas has had more professional success, I'm almost inclined to pick Barnes due to the fact he's shown he can win under big pressure on a big stage at the U.S. Amateur, whereas Glover has shown a propensity to wilt a bit.

You're right about Glover. I posted his final-round scoring average for the past three years in yesterday's blog (never better than 87th), but that doesn't tell the entire story. Seems like there have been so many occasions in which he was in contention heading to the final round, only to post a big number and fall off the leaderboard.

That said, I think he has a better shot to remain up there than his playing partner. Barnes hasn't been in a pressure-cooker atmosphere in about a half-dozen years, since he made a run at Augusta National as an amateur. I've got to believe that a lack of recent experience in this type of situation will have an adverse effect on his scores.


12:27 p.m. ET: There's a company called "59 belts" that produces belts and belt buckles emblazoned with golf's magic number.

Perhaps such a numeral also provides a little psychological boost, too.

If that's the case, then I have no idea what the thought process is behind Azuma Yano's shirt, which also has a number on it: 75.

What professional golfer in his right mind would wear a shirt that has a 75 on it? Isn't that like psyching himself out before even leaving the hotel?

Paging Bob Rotella ...


12:25 p.m. ET: If leaders Ricky Barnes and Lucas Glover are nervous, they certainly didn't show it on the first tee.

Each one bombs his drive down the fairway. Solid start.


12:23 p.m. ET: Speaking of Tiger, he's got a 12-footer for birdie on No. 12 ... and he misses.

To be brutally honest, the game's best putter has been, well, just brutal from the 8-12 foot range this week.

For as much as we talked about his driving and ball-striking following his win at Memorial two weeks ago, the story of Woods' demise has been the flatstick.


12:19 p.m. ET: Tweet, tweet ...

Sam_Hartle@JasonSobel So Tiger's wearing Sunday red today ... I always thought it was more accurately described as "final round red"... any thoughts?

Nike scripts his outfits. One for each day. Shouldn't be a surprise that he's wearing red today. Expect more tomorrow, too.


12:16 p.m. ET: Just about to tee off in the penultimate pairing with Mike Weir is Azuma Yano.

Though he was born in Gunma, Japan, and was announced on the first tee as "From Tokyo," Yano's hometown in the official U.S. Open player guide is listed as ... nothing.

That's right -- there's nothing there.

Like many of you, he is simply "Azuma Yano from Parts Unknown."


12:08 p.m. ET: Some early leaderboard-climbers already.

Lee Westwood would have won that "B Flight" as the low man out of the 78-player wave that got the rougher half of the early-round conditions. He's now tied for fourth at 3-under.

Haven't mentioned Hunter Mahan yet this week, but he made birdie on Nos. 2 and 4 for the second straight round to move to 2-under. Interestingly enough, Mahan carded as many birdies (nine) over the first 36 holes as leader Ricky Barnes.

And then there's Phil Mickelson, who just birdied the third hole to the delight of the fans, also moving to 2-under.


12 p.m. ET: Rejoice! Golf! Live golf! What a wonderful sight!

Players are now back out on the course, continuing their third rounds. Remember, though: There are 16 players who have yet to tee off in this round, including the top eight on the leaderboard.

It's so weird that it's Sunday afternoon and yet the leaders still have 36 holes left to play. So much can still happen ...


11:45 a.m. ET: When you were a kid, did your parents ever say you'd take a family vacation to DisneyWorld, only to keep delaying and delaying?

No? Oh.

Well, I sorta feel like that right now. Golf in 15 minutes. I had almost forgotten what we were here for.


11:30 a.m. ET: Earlier today, the forecast called for an 80 percent chance of rain this afternoon. That has been downgraded to 60 percent, but supposedly it won't be a heavy rain, so hopefully they'll be able to play through it.

As for the usual rainfall this time of year for this area, let's clear up a few misconceptions via some e-mails ...

From Paul in San Diego:

Here is a summary of rain activity since June 2000 for Bethpage area:

June 2001 -- Actual Month Total: 4.07 inches
June 2002 -- Actual Month Total: 3.53 inches
June 2003 -- Actual Month Total: 10.80 inches
June 2004 -- Actual Month Total: 1.24 inches
June 2005 -- Actual Month Total: 1.39 inches
June 2006 -- Actual Month Total: 5.34 inches
June 2007 -- Actual Month Total: 2.88 inches
June 2008 -- Actual Month Total: 3.17 inches
June 2009 -- To date: 6.51 inches

The normal June rainfall is 3.71 inches; the normal rainfall to date is 2.58 inches. That means nearly 3 full inches of rain have already accumulated this month than usually in the full month of June.

One other note: For the week of the 2002 U.S. Open (June 10-16), the rainfall was 1.45 inches of the 3.53 that month.

From Dan in State College, Pa.:

While of course it CAN rain this time of year, it is usually nothing like what Long Island is seeing so far this month. As a student meteorologist at Penn State, I thought I would dig up some precipitation data for the Bethpage area and found that this is an extremely anomalous month for the Northeast in terms of rainfall. So climatologically speaking, the USGA should not take the weather into consideration when discussing holding the U.S. Open at Bethpage in the future. The chances of this happening again in the near future, on the same weekend, are not very likely.


11 a.m. ET: With one hour left before the continuation of the third round gets under way, it appears that every player in the field is now present and accounted for. Each of the five dozen competitors is currently banging balls at the driving range or rolling putts on the practice green.

Not much else to report, as the start time remains noon ET and it looks like there will indeed be golf taking place one hour from now.

Let's answer a few e-mails ...

From T.J. in Parts Unknown:

Seems to me that if play resumed at maybe 10 a.m. we could have a Sunday finish. Do they really need the two extra hours or do they want a Monday finish to ease the sting of the ticket fiasco?

Earlier this morning, USGA officials claimed that another pocket of rain was going to sweep through the area around 8:30-9:30 a.m. ET. Rather than putting the players on the course and then suspending play once again, they decided to delay the start altogether. Which is all well and good, except for one little thing: It isn't raining and hasn't in more than three hours. Hmmm ... I'm starting to believe that Monday conspiracy theory more and more.

From Drew in Parts Unknown:

Assuming that the schedule plays out today the way the USGA hopes (noon ET resumption of Round 3, 5:30 pm start of Round 4), do you think there will be some controversy over the fact that Round 4 is bifurcated?

Good point. The USGA could easily just start the final round at 7:30 a.m. on Monday morning, rather than squeezing part of it into this afternoon. That said, more rain is in the forecast. At this point, I believe it's simply a matter of getting in the most golf possible, whenever they can.

From Unknown in Parts Unknown:

You gotta think that all these delays would only make it even more difficult for the less mentally sound players. If anyone can make the most out of it its gotta be the games most mentally fit player right?

Absolutely. This has been an excruciatingly long time for players like Ricky Barnes and Lucas Glover to be sitting atop the leaderboard, thinking about what could be. I think those who are most mentally tough -- and experience plays a big factor here, too -- will find the most success in Round 3 and beyond. In my eyes, Mike Weir stands at the top of this list.

From James in Atlanta:

Just as King Midas discovered over time just how horrible his new powers were, we only now learn the full extent of the Blog Jinx. Remember back in Tuesday's live blog when you said that no U.S. Open champion has been crowned on Tuesday? You jinxed the entire eastern seaboard.

Oh. Uh, sorry about that.


10:30 a.m. ET: In my final post of yesterday's live blog, I wrote about how the weather has been the main storyline for much of this U.S. Open. But at some point, another great tale will emerge -- and there are plenty on the leaderboard from which to choose.

That leads to this tweet ...

pgapro11@JasonSobel this has been horrible, but when it is all said and done something amazing is going to happen

I'd like to believe that. And part of me does. Call it karma or retribution or maybe just coincidence, but I think this water-logged version of a tournament could be destined for great things at the very end. I mean, wouldn't you sacrifice four days of rain-infused suspensions if it ended in a Phil Mickelson vs. David Duval winner-take-all playoff at the end? Personally, I'd wait here at Bethpage for a month if it meant that could come to fruition.

Not to rain on anybody's parade -- well, not to add to the rain, at least -- but we have just as much chance of nothing amazing whatsoever taking place. It's entirely possible that all of the current leaders flail down the stretch, leaving Peter Hanson as a three-stroke winner. Or Azuma Yano. Or, well, someone else who doesn't exactly move the needle, prevailing in undramatic fashion..

Nothing against any of those guys, but after such a frustrating week for golf fans, you deserve to witness "something amazing" before the conclusion of this tournament.


9:30 a.m. ET: E-mail from Yank in Atlanta:

I'm from the Northeast and this is what it does this time of year. It rains! Does the blame fall on the USGA for scheduling the U.S. Open on Long Island during monsoon season? At this rate we may get a Sunday finish. Next Sunday!

I'm not buying it. I grew up on Long Island -- not too far from Bethpage, in fact -- and I don't recall mid-June being any more of a rainy season than other months. Though I don't have the data to prove it, I heard somewhere that this is one of the wettest June months in recent history, if not No. 1 on that list. And we can look at past editions of the U.S. Open in this area, too. In 2004, such weather would have been welcomed at Shinnecock, where the greens became rock hard; in 2006, conditions were perfect at Winged Foot.

The poor weather of this year's event notwithstanding, I think we can reasonably start to doubt if we'll see another U.S. Open here at Bethpage anytime soon. Earlier in the week, there were rumblings that the Black Course might be in line for the tournament in 2017, though nothing official would likely be announced until next year.

Now, though, with the combination of the dodgy weather and the ticket fiasco and some boisterous-bordering-on-unruly fans making their presence known in the gallery late yesterday ... I think it's safe to wonder whether this course has made too many bogeys in its effort to win another edition of the tournament.

The USGA loved coming to this state-run facility back in 2002, returning here as soon as possible for this year's event. Could it be a two-and-done scenario? It's not such a far-fetched idea, though only time will tell.


8:30 a.m. ET: This is starting to feel like I'm reporting from some kind of hostage situation.

Day 4 of the U.S. Open crisis here at Bethpage and there's no end to the misery in sight ...

We officially received three-quarters of an inch of overnight rainfall and despite more wet stuff in the forecast for later today, USGA officials remain optimistic that play will begin as scheduled later today.

"We do feel very confident that we can have it ready for a noon start," Mike Davis, senior director of rules and competitions for the USGA, told ESPN's Tom Rinaldi earlier this morning.

Remember, even if 17 holes on the Black Course are playable, play won't resume if one hole is deemed to be unplayable. Davis confirmed that the most troublesome hole remains No. 18.

"That's our problem area," he said. "They've been pumping the drying wells all night. But we're in good shape there."

As for the rest of the tournament, here is the USGA's plan, idealistic as it may be: The third round will resume at noon, with the final groups teeing off sometime around 12:30. For the final round, the USGA will then re-pair and send twosomes off both the first and 10th tees at approximately 5:30 p.m. ET until about 7:55 p.m. ET or when darkness sets in. That round will be continued on Monday morning and if there is an 18-hole playoff, it would be contested on Monday afternoon.

If the final round Monday ends after 3:45-4 p.m. ET, the USGA won't stage the playoff until Tuesday.

Overly optimistic? Perhaps, but at least there's a solid plan in place.


7:30 a.m. ET: When the USGA suspended third-round play at 6:55 p.m. ET on Saturday with 44 players on the course and 16 others yet to tee off, the prevailing sentiment here at Bethpage was that we were lucky to have gotten in so much golf, considering the weather forecast called for heavy rain throughout the day.

Turns out, that prognostication wasn't wrong; it was just a bit delayed. By the time I reached my final destination about 25-30 minutes from the course last night, there was enough of a downpour that many of the streets were flooded.

And it never stopped.

Which is why it's hardly a surprise that Sunday's continuation of the third round has already been delayed until noon. Even that may be optimistic thinking, though.

According to the latest report, there's a 45 percent chance of rain still falling at noon, and that number increases to 80 percent just one hour later. USGA officials have stated that the plan is to not only try and complete the third round this afternoon, but start the final round, as well. It remains to be seen whether any of that will be a possibility, but my gut feeling is that we should be prepared for another afternoon of delays and suspensions, if any golf is contested at all.

Either way, this tournament will finish on Monday, at the earliest -- and could very likely extend to Tuesday or even Wednesday if the weather doesn't cooperate or there is an 18-hole playoff.

I'll check back in here on the live blog every hour or whenever there is some news or update from here at the course. Keep those e-mails (usopenblog@gmail.com) and tweets (JasonSobel) coming, as I will also be answering your questions and comments throughout the day.

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.