Man versus weather

By |  June 16, 2016 0 Comments

IMG_0997You can have the best spray program, use top-of-the-line equipment and have a great winter leading up to the tournament but Mother Nature can easily bring everything to a halt. That’s where the 190-person maintenance team finds themselves right now on the first day of the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club.

When the U.S. Open maintenance crew arrived early this morning, 1.1 inches of rain had come down on the course overnight. Storms then came in again a couple hours after the championship started. The first weather delay began at 10:04 a.m. EST. Golfers went to find shelter and some even ended up in the bullpen of the media tent. Play resumed at 11:23 a.m. and total rainfall during the delay was .05 inch, according to the USGA.

Mike McCormick, Oakmont CC’s first assistant, said that there was no call from the USGA for assistance with the course before play resumed.


This group was sent to check on No. 10 and No. 11. They said the bunkers on those two holes were all clear of water.

Forty-four minutes of play later the horns signaling a delay sounded again at 12:07 p.m. During this delay another .17 inches of rainfall came down on Oakmont. This time the USGA did made the call to the maintenance crew and Oakmont Superintendent John Zimmers sent out the cavalry to the course for bunker duty.

With 1.32 inches of rain in less than 24 hours some of the bunkers were washed-out. At 2:34 p.m. play resumed for the second time but the forecast for the evening looks grim, with one local weatherman predicting 60-mph winds this evening. Despite the red on the weather map the maintenance team leadership is confident.

“I think the course is draining as well as it can, and guys are working around it and that’s all you can do,” McCormick told Golfdom. “We just need to control what we can control, make the right decisions and make sure we don’t get too aggressive.”


A greenside bunker on No. 16 after the rain.

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel for the group and McCormick is confident they will get through.

“Looking at the forecast right now the next few days coming up are a lot better,” McCormick says. “So if we can get through today without getting totally blown out we’ll be fine.”

He adds,”Obviously it’s not ideal or what we hoped for but you do your best to overcome it and move on.”

Editor’s note: Play was again suspended at 3:51 p.m.

Photos: Golfdom

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