Spotty brown greens?
Believe it or not, how the bentgrass greens at Omaha Country Club are looking during the U.S. Senior Open is typical.
“Any of the golf fans who watch regularly USGA Open championships, what they're seeing on television won't surprise them,” said Jeff Hall, the USGA's managing director of the Rules of Golf, Competitions and Amateur Status.
Hall said the conditions this week have not been unexpected and “we've been making the responsible decisions.”
“This is very typical for an Open championship,” he said. “It's been difficult the last few days. Like we said at our press conference the other day, we're here to conduct the Senior Open, we have a presentation in mind, but Mother Nature has made it difficult in that regard.
“The focus is the health of the turf.”
Texts were sent to the players Thursday night, Hall said, informing them that additional water was applied to the greens to keep them healthy.
After Thursday's Stimpmeter reading was 11 feet, 6 inches — the device measures green speed — Friday's speed was 10-8 and only that fast because the greens were double-cut.
“We had a very windy day today, low humidity the last couple of days, bright sunshine, no cloud cover. Just like us out there, we need more water. A green needs more water,'' Hall said. “And that's what we did, gave it more water, because that's what it needs to sustain itself.”
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Fred Funk said softer greens mean more footprints on the greens.
“That's going to be an issue as we play out the rest of the week,” he said, “but that's just the nature of the business when you have bent greens in a summer climate. We'll deal with that.”
Also overnight Thursday, Hall said, dry spots in fairways were hand-watered. Crews for the second straight day syringed the greens between Friday's morning and afternoon waves of players to replace moisture and cool the greens.
The intermediate rough (1.5 inches) and first cut of primary rough (3 inches) were cut Thursday evening.
“I think we're in a pretty good place,” Hall said.