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June 18, 2009

USGA hopes to resume play this afternoon

Posted at 12:18 PM by Mike Walker | Categories: Bethpage Black, U.S. Open, USGA

UPDATE: PLAY IS SUSPENDED FOR THE DAY 1:55 p.m. PLAY WILL RESUME AT 7:30 a.m. TOMORROW.

It's still pouring at Bethpage Black, but USGA officials said they're expecting to get a break in the weather this afternoon and they will try to get the first group of players around the course. Since this morning Bethpage Black has received .6 inches of rain and another quarter-inch is expected before the rain stops.

"We expect rain until 1:30 pm. and then we think it will lighten up considerably," the USGA's Jim Hyler said. "We should have a window of three to five hours this afternoon to play golf."

Hyler said that four hours should be long enough to get the morning group through their round--including Tiger Woods, who was on the seventh hole when play was suspended at 10:16 a.m. The afternoon group, which includes Phil Mickelson, would be unlikely to play today, Hyler said, and it could be Saturday before the field completes two full rounds.

"If we lose half the day, it will be impossible to catch up [Friday]," Hyler said.

While some of the greens looked like ponds when the USGA suspended play this morning, Hyler said the course drains surprisingly quickly and he'd expect the course to be playable about 30 minutes after the rain lets up. The key concern is the soggy 18th fairway, where casual-water rules could force players to take drops as far as 40 yards back or just decide to play out of the casual water, Hyler said.

Fans who have tickets to today's round will not receive a raincheck for tomorrow. The cheapest U.S. Open ticket is $100.

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