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May 31, 1997

Ben Nelson

Jim Wisler


WES SEELEY: We have Ben Nelson of the PGA TOUR and Jim Wisler of the Memorial Tournament and Ben will let you know what's decided and how we got to that point.

BEN NELSON: As of now we are going to -- we just told the players that we are not going to be able to play golf today, on this golf course. We've got problems mainly with the bunkers and the fairways, have just become so saturated that we don't think that we can get them back within a time frame where we can have enough daylight to play some golf. Our forecasters have, and pretty much so, if anybody has seen the radar screen lately, they can pretty much predict in the next several hours we will have more rain, so the golf course is just going to be continuously -- get wetter and wetter before it gets better. It will take several hours of no rain for it to get where we can do some work out there and get the fairways and the bunkers back playable. So with that we felt like we were holding people here needlessly, each hour that goes by. So we're going to let everybody go. We're going to resume play tomorrow morning at 7:30, weather permitting, of course, even though the forecast is not a very pleasant one. We are just wishing that maybe they're wrong, and we do get a period of no rain tonight and we can have the golf course ready and playable at 7:30 in the morning. And if that's the case, we'll play, if we've -- we've got about four hours of golf left in the round, the last group of the day is at four tee. So they've got approximately four hours of golf left. We'll finish somewhere around 11:30. And the fourth round will start at approximately 12 o'clock. That's approximately, please. And if everything gets on that scenario, we will complete play around 6 o'clock tomorrow night, which is our scheduled time. Any other decision about any other thing is premature at this time as far as any other rescheduling of play or playing Monday or any of those questions that you have at this time is just premature to even conjecture these things. So tomorrow morning, if we get here and we can play, we'll play, and if we can't that's when those questions will be addressed.

Q. Presuming that you do get the morning round in as scheduled, are you going to go -- is everybody going to go off 1 --

BEN NELSON: If the morning round completes, we'll go 1 and 10 tee at approximately 12 o'clock tomorrow afternoon.

Q. Ben, seven years ago the decision was made that the TOUR did not want to play on Monday, has that changed in the time since then?

BEN NELSON: I don't know about that decision, don't want to play on Monday. I can tell you this, we will play Monday, if we have a reason to play. If there's a good forecast, and we have a good chance of completing the round or even starting a round or whatever that scenario is, we will play, if there's a good chance the weather will let us play, yes. But hopefully we complete on Sunday.

Q. Do you have to take into consideration the fact that there's a U.S. Open qualifier that day at another course?

BEN NELSON: I think that will be handled some other way. Our job is The Memorial Tournament. I think we're focused on it, and we'll work that other thing out later.

Q. You talked about no rain for several hours, how much time does the course really need to get ready, once the rain actually stops?

JIM WISLER: Once it stops?

Q. Once the rain stops, how long --

JIM WISLER: If it stopped right now -- obviously it depends on how much is out there. But our superintendent tells us that he'd need at least two hours to get the golf course playable. That is, again, if it stops right now.

Q. It has to stop, though, it cannot just let up?

JIM WISLER: It's been kind of spotty up to this point in time. And it's just been steady and unfortunately it will probably have to stop, and then have about a two hour window for us to get something dry out there.

Q. Jim, has Mike told you how much rain has fallen since the tournament started on Thursday, how much water this course has taken on?

JIM WISLER: I don't believe --

BEN NELSON: I don't know how much rain we've had since Thursday, we've had three-quarters of an inch -- that was probably an hour ago, so --

Q. Three-quarters since --

BEN NELSON: Today. And that was probably at two o'clock, when he told me we had three-quarters of an inch. So it obviously keeps adding on.

JIM WISLER: We can find that out, though.

Q. Do you expect to get the two hours that the crews need, do you expect to get it sometime today or --

JIM WISLER: The forecast -- we've heard a couple of different forecasts. One of them has it rain subsiding tonight somewhere around 10 o'clock so that's what we're hoping for, and hopefully the golf course can dry out and we can resume play at 7:30 tomorrow.

Q. If the rain let's up at 10 o'clock, do the crews work all night or what?

JIM WISLER: I've seen Mike's crew do some miracle things here, and I'm sure they will do everything they can to make sure we're playing golf at 7:30 tomorrow morning, whatever is possible.

Q. The hurricane watch has been canceled, right? (Laughter.) What happens to the scores today?

BEN NELSON: Third round is still going.

WES SEELEY: We're resuming, not restarting.

Q. If there's golf tomorrow would you anticipate lift clean and place?

BEN NELSON: Not during the third round. We're going to play the complete third round on the rules we started.

Q. Assuming golf doesn't happen again, Hoch is the winner?

BEN NELSON: That's one of those questions we will not address today. Obviously, if it's still raining next Saturday, I would think Scott Hoch would be the winner (laughter.)

WES SEELEY: Anything else for these two gentlemen?

Q. Along that same line, if it's still raining next Saturday, and Hoch is the winner, do you play a full purse for 36 holes?

JIM WISLER: That's something we'll have to look at. That's a decision that's a little too premature right now.

End of FastScripts....

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