Weather wreaking havoc at US Women’s Open

Cold temperatures in the spring and lingering winter conditions have meant that Shoal Creek, the location of this year’s US Women’s Open, is not in great condition and now heavy rain threatens to force ‘lift, clean and place’ at the event for the first time in it’s history.

Despite the best efforts of the staff at Shoal Creek and consultants from the USGA, the course is not in the condition it should be.

That’s primarily down to abnormally cold conditions in Alabama for this time of the year. The consequences of this are that certain areas of the course will likely have to be deemed as ‘ground under repair’ and that relief will need to be provided in these areas – this is not what the US Women’s Open is about.

“The unseasonably cool temperatures this spring and lingering winter conditions that plagued much of the United States in recent months have impacted the turf conditions in a few areas at Shoal Creek,” the USGA said in a statement on Monday.

“The golf course superintendent’s staff, in collaboration with the USGA’s agronomy team, has been working diligently throughout the spring to ensure the best possible turf conditions for the championship.

“While we continue these efforts and evaluate how we will manage these conditions within the Rules of Golf, likely by defining some areas as ground under repair, we are confident that our team is doing everything possible to showcase the course to its fullest competitive potential.”

To make matters worse, it seems probable that heavy rain this week will leave the USGA with little option but to allow ‘lift, clean and place’ on all fairways for the first time in the history of the event.

“They are going to have to play it up,” said Cristie Kerr, winner of the 2007 US Women’s Open.

“It’s already soaked out there. There are puddles everywhere. Around the greens, it’s super muddy.”

Ground Under Repair and ‘lift, clean and place’ do not align with the US Women’s Open mantra that it is the toughest event in golf but the players wont mind, they will just be desperate to get their name of the trophy, through whatever means possible.