Tampa Bay Sports Day

A Long Tournament on the Long Course

BETHPAGE, NY – Here we are on Friday and the first round is still not done at the U.S. Open. Weather will do that. Yet, today is a glorious day, especially for 18 holes and Day 2 did not disappoint.

Tiger Woods shot four over and didn’t seem happy. And currently American Lucas Glover leads the field with an impressive six under in the middle of the second round.

But this is the Black and like the last time the open was played in Nassau County, the course became as much of the celebrity as the players who tried to conquer it.

“The energy that was out here, it’s just phenomenal,” Woods said back on Tuesday about the 2002 Open at Bethpage. “We’ve never seen anything like it. It wasn’t just the four rounds that we competed in. It was even the practice rounds.”

He went on to say, “Monday was loud. It was like 40,000 people out here on a Monday. It was just electric the entire week. And even when it was raining the people were out there cheering and having a great time, tipping back a couple.

“But it was just an atmosphere that if you’re playing well, you feel like you could keep it rolling; if you weren’t playing well, people were cheering so hard for you to turn it around. It was just a great crowd to play in front of.”

That was about 2002, now it’s 2009 and this year rain has been the story. Thursday was pretty much a washout and today was catchup time with the Open hoping to end this thing on Sunday. But Mother Nature may not make that happen.

“We would like to ideally see the 72 holes completed on Sunday night,” said USGA Executive Director David Fay. “That’s the idea. I think that’s an agreement among all of us, so when you start with that thinking, that’s the ideal, and we will consider — we developed a plan as to what we are going to do for the Thursday purchase, we would say, if there’s golf on Monday, you can come.

“But ideally, we would hope that that would not happen, because we don’t want to be here on Monday.”

For those who splurged for Thursday tickets then it won’t be a total washout. If golf is played on Monday, then you get to see possibly the final round. But, if there is no gold, you get a 50 percent refund.

“Now, this is not a let’s-make-a-deal situation,” Fay said. “If there’s golf on Monday, there’s only one option. The Thursday ticket purchaser can use that ticket to come here on Monday. He doesn’t have or she doesn’t have the choice of saying, ‘I can’t make it out here, I’m going to take the 50 percent.’ There’s not an option.”

Of course, Monday may come and go and there may not be a champion. With rain in the forecast for tomorrow (What else is new), we may have Tuesday golf at the Black.

“I’d like to believe that if we are playing golf on Tuesday, those holders of playoff tickets are the ones who are going to be using them.”

So it’s going to be interesting to say the least. Woods, the favorite, may not make the cut and there may be some new names crowned champion this year at the Black.

Or there may be a huge Tiger comeback. But at 10 strokes back, it’s going to be real tough.

One thing’s for certain through, it’s going to be a real long tournament at the really long course.