home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


May 30, 2018

Darin Bevard

John Bodenhamer

Matt Sawicki

Shoal Creek, Alabama

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon again, everyone. Thanks for being here. We are joined by three USGA officials to give a brief update on the weather and course conditions. I have to my left John Bodenhamer, senior managing director; Matt Sawicki, championship director; and Darin Bevard who is our championship agronomist.

JOHN BODENHAMER: Just a few quick words. We are really grateful for that sunshine we have on top of us right now. I think y'all are, too. I know the players are. They are out playing which is really great. We're pleased by that. And I know that's what they want to do and we're glad to have them out doing what they do best.

I'll just say it, we were a little unlucky last night. I think we had hoped for better last night and we got worse. Sometimes it goes that way with what we do. We had hoped what hit us last night, in over an inch and a half of rain, that was a bit unlucky. I will say that. We had hoped to have a full day of play today. We had hoped to have some of this earlier and get everybody out. Unfortunately we were thrown another curve ball in that regard.

As we do, we will deal with that. As I said, it's good to have the players out on the golf course. The good news is with the sunshine, the golf course is drying quickly. We need some cooperate from Mother Nature. Matt will talk about that.

I will mention, as I did yesterday, just another point about safety. That is the first thing we really think about. We did have quite a bit of electricity early this morning which prevented the golf club staff to get out on the golf course to evaluate the golf course and prepare the golf course for play. That is something that we battled pretty hard for longer than we thought. Whether it's our staff or the club staff or whether it's the players and caddies, the fans, that is paramount for us and we take that seriously and that's why we did what we did today.

It's also great to see all the fans that are out. We tried to be really encouraging of that, to come out and watch the world's greatest players. We are seeing that with the sun peeking through. We think that's great. We want more of that, and I think we will see more of that.

I would say just as an overall sort of place where we are, I have walked the golf course recently. You can see that from the mud on my shoes if they were visible. It is wet. It continues to be very wet. As I said, it is drying. We need this weather to keep going. We have folks out on our staff watching play. We are evaluating the golf course both from a playability standpoint, how we mark ground under repair, how we set up the golf course. All the tools in our tool kit, as I've said, are at our disposal, and we'll use those and what the rules give us to use. We're also just evaluating play and what it looks like for the players now and how they are playing the golf course, how it feels to them, what it looks like to us and from a maintenance standpoint.

I can tell you this, in walking the golf course, those putting greens are spectacular. They have drained wonderfully. They are still nice and firm. You are going to see these players make putts on these putting greens. We think that's great. This golf club has done a wonderful job in preparing not only those putting greens but under very challenging circumstances over the last few weeks with the wet weather that's come our way, not to mention a tropical storm. Hats off to them, shout out to them. They are going above and beyond the call of duty. Just really pleased we're finally out playing some golf.

THE MODERATOR: About 8:00 p.m. last night, we had some lightening in the area, lasted through midday today. You weren't able to get on the course much, but you have been out there now. Can you give us a brief update?

DARIN BEVARD: As John Bodenhamer said, the golf course is obviously wet with the amount of rain that we've had. Fortunately the sand-based construction of the putting greens, they drain well, they drain quickly. We were able to get out and get the greens mowed require prior to the practice rounds today which is very important as we progress into the championship rounds tomorrow.

Certainly hope that we get some cooperation tonight. A dry night would be big for us to continue to get the conditions where we like them to be, especially on the putting greens. The golf course is draining, but it's wet out there. If you have walked around, just getting from the clubhouse over to here, the golf course is very similar right now.

Rex Davis, superintendent, and his team, I mean from the time it stopped raining to the time the practice rounds went off was about an hour and 15 minutes. So those guys deserve a lot of credit for the work that they did. They are committed to continuing that work as the weather and the golf course allow. We'll get back to a really good place with cooperation from the weather.

Q. How much of the golf course would you estimate now is causal water and how will you handle that?
JOHN BODENHAMER: That's tough. I was really paying attention to landing areas and areas around the putting green. It was significant. It's been an hour and a half since I walked up 18, which was actually quite good. Mostly on that hole, it was playable.

I'd say from what we saw in the landing areas, there were places where players could take relief and play golf under the rules, using the causal water rule and so on. And with this type of weather, it will only get better.

Q. If no weather comes through, do you have the time to have the course ready for an on-time start tomorrow morning?
JOHN BODENHAMER: I defer to Mr. Bevard to answer that question.

DARIN BEVARD: Right now the answer to that question is yes. We do feel we will be on time in the morning without anymore rain.

Q. Just curious how much input you've had from players. Have you talked much to players about what they think about the conditions and maybe what they would like to see? Does that factor in at all?
JOHN BODENHAMER: Sure does. We've heard from some players. We talked to a few players. We were out watching players and talking to players this afternoon. That's something we do all the time. We're constantly -- as we prepare for any of our championships we're always engaging with players to see what they think. What happened here, what happened there. We want to know that. That's good intel for us in how we set up the golf course and how we administer the golf course from a maintenance standpoint. So we'll continue that and we have got folks out there doing that today.

Q. Any thoughts on lift, clean and place?
JOHN BODENHAMER: As we have spoken to -- we look at all the tools in our tool kit. As I said previously, we've talked about everything from the standpoint of how we mark the golf course, from what we do under the rules of golf, to how we set the golf course up.

That's an important consideration. We think with some areas, we can address some of what is out there with setup and not compromise the integrity of what is the ultimate test and provide what really the U.S. Women's Open is all about from identifying a great champion. We intend to do that.

I will say this, it remains our intention to play 72 holes and to play the ball as it lies. If we get cooperation from weather, it will keep getting better every day.

Q. How much do you think you might shorten the golf course?
JOHN BODENHAMER: I think that's part of the evaluation. I wouldn't necessarily say shorten it as much as strategically place things, whether it's teeing grounds or hole locations. Can't really answer that right now. We'll talk about that later tonight. I couldn't give you a specific number about shortening or lengthening holes or overall yardage. I think our target would be to maintain what we have always maintained as our plan coming into this as a course set up. We'll modify that based on what we think we need to mitigate.

Q. Overnight, how much does that bring the total since Monday morning?
MATT SAWICKI: Since Sunday night at 5:00 p.m., we received 4.76 inches. Since 10:00 p.m. last evening, we received 1.62 inches. There is an additional chance for precipitation overnight tonight.

Moving forward the remainder of the week, as I said yesterday, once we get out of this pattern and get into Thursday afternoon, Friday and especially into the weekend, we're going to re-enter a typical summer pattern here in Alabama. Warm temperatures, humid, a chance for storms every day. Ultimately take what Mother Nature gives us and move forward.

THE MODERATOR: Obviously with the gates open, hoping for more of that and for the community to come out. What are some things that they can look forward to?

MATT SAWICKI: I think, first, I want to recognize two groups. Darin touched on the grounds crew. We had superintendents from all over the state calling, just showing up to help the last two days. The work that Rex, his crew, all those folks has done is simply phenomenal.

Second, it's volunteers here. We have over 1000 volunteers. We can't drive a range picker on the range right now. We have found any willing and able volunteer to walk out there and handpick 55 dozen golf balls for the players. These people are giving their time, they're giving their resources. They have done a phenomenal job.

As far as people showing up, there's so much to look forward to. This is a great sports town. We're excited to see this town come out and show the world that weather, perfect or not, this is a group that supports the greatest players in the world and they want to see someone crowned a national champion.

There is a wonderful variety of places to see that, whether it's our Eagle's Nest, the opportunity to take a picture with all four of our U.S. Open trophies at the Lexus Performance Drive Tent. Of course, all juniors 18 and under get in free. All those things make it a wonderful event. We're excited to see people the next few days.

THE MODERATOR: We originally had Junior Day scheduled for today and we rescheduled that for Saturday to provide a better experience for all the kids coming out here.

MATT SAWICKI: It's about experience and about safety for all the kids. We moved our Junior Day activities to Saturday. You can find all the information about our Junior Day activities at uswomensopen.com. You can find any updates with respect to parking, transportation and other fan information there at that website.

JOHN BODENHAMER: Just thinking about a question that came a minute ago, I do want to say one other thing in regards to players. I have talked to a number and we have heard from a number. I would like to say a couple of positives there. They like this golf course. You go out there and you walk it, you can see why. It's a great golf course.

I think there's also in the players that I have spoken to -- look, there is a lot of emotion around this. Any time you get challenging weather conditions and you get lies that aren't as pristine as maybe sometimes we have, you have that emotion. We get that. We understand that. We're golfers, too. We don't like playing in the rain. We would rather play in the sunshine on firm and fast conditions, too. Believe me. I played competitive golf growing up. We get that. I understand that.

What's really great about these players is they do this all the time, they know what we're up against. It's not the first time they have seen it. I felt that out there this morning when players started to arrive and a few casual conversations.

While there's emotion and frustration, I think generally what I felt is support. And you know, we'll see where the weather goes and all that. I have got to say in thinking about it and that question that is what I have taken from this morning and really what the players have been great about it.

Q. I know you don't like to deal in hypotheticals, if there was significant further rain this evening, does that bring the lift, clean and place possibility into play without question?
JOHN BODENHAMER: Well, you know, hypotheticals are hypotheticals. I think again, as I have said yesterday and I will say it again, we operate in the moment. We do think about things ahead. But there's no criteria, whether it's lift, clean and place, whether it's how you mark ground under repair, whether it's where you put a hole, even our setup is dictated by the weather. We evaluate in real time. We'll do things in real time, very late in the process. We take a look at all of those things in the moment. Just to get too far out ahead, we just don't do that. Just too hard to predict what the weather is going to do and what we can do to operate under.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, everyone.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297