U.S. Open: Wet weather dampens spirits at Merion

Volunteer groundskeeper Charlie Carr blow-dries the 11th fairway at Merion Golf Club on Tuesday before the U.S. Open.

Volunteer groundskeeper Charlie Carr blow-dries the 11th fairway at Merion Golf Club on Tuesday before the U.S. Open.

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ARDMORE, Pa. – It's Tuesday of U.S. Open week as volunteer groundskeeper Charlie Carr blow-dries the 11th hole at Merion Golf Club's East Course. That’s the kind of TLC that a national championship receives, especially when it has incurred a second torrential downpour in four days.

Carr, who in his day job works as superintendent at Rolling Green Golf Club in nearby Springfield, is hopeful but more than a little saddened by the turn of events during which Merion has evolved into a sponge bath.

At least they’re playing golf today. And the course is drying out, thanks to warm, sunny weather that greeted players – and the U.S. Golf Association – after a gloomy few days. The prospects are good for the next two days, but wet weather is predicted to return for Thursday’s first round.

For now, the low-lying 11th hole, a 367-yard par 4 that culminates in a small green wrapped by Cobbs Creek, is sitting high and dry. The same can’t be said for the spirits of the staff and crew here at Merion, who worked years for this one week and were hoping (and probably praying) for dry weather. Green speeds won’t be affected. But the fairways are holding all too well, and that will dramatically slow the golf course and make it easier to keep the ball in play.

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