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July 30, 2004

Walter Driver


Q. What's the plan?

WALTER DRIVER: The plan is to spend the afternoon as best we can getting the course ready to play tomorrow, play the second round tomorrow and play 36 holes on Sunday, beginning as early on Sunday as we can to try and make sure we can get all 36 in.

Q. Was it not possible to play at all today?

SEAN SOVACOOL: No, the crews could not get out on the course this morning. There was no way to get the course ready to play. I'm told the 7th fairway is completely under water. The 3rd green I'm told is functionally an island green and there wasn't any way to get people out there. Nobody is happy about this turn of events, but we're going to try to complete the championship Sunday night.

Q. How much time once the rain stops do you think it'll take to get this course in shape to be able to play on it?

SEAN SOVACOOL: I'd say it's going to take at least three hours based upon what I've heard this morning, at least three hours.

Q. Do you have to work overnight then to do that?

SEAN SOVACOOL: We're going to have to work overnight on a couple of different things. The golf course obviously will be one of those things that we'll start working on as soon as the water dissipates and they feel they can get on the golf course. With respect to the surrounding areas, the parking lots, et cetera, we're already beginning work on those areas.

Q. How much will this rain change what you would have hoped for for a setup for the course during the tournament?

WALTER DRIVER: It's certainly not going to change the length, it's not going to change any of the other things. The greens will be softer. I assume we can keep the same green speed roughly, but they'll be soft.

They were reasonably soft yesterday, so I think that it isn't going to change it a whole lot, although based on the weather forecast, Saturday and Sunday may be very warm and humid.

Q. But I'm assuming you have a plan for hole locations through the week. Will you stay with those plans or will you have to put the holes in different locations that are a little higher than normal?

WALTER DRIVER: I assume the greens are going to be fully dry by is a morning and we would not have to change that.

SEAN SOVACOOL: Although I point out I'm not the superintendent here, I'm just the championship director, I don't think that there's any plans to make any changes.

Q. Given that it could be really hot and humid on Sunday, how tough a decision is it from a health standpoint? How tough will it be for some of these guys to play 36 holes? Is that a difficult part of the decision?

WALTER DRIVER: Well, we have thousands of volunteers here, we've got the police, we've got the traffic issues, we've got ticket sales, all those things, and everyone wants to try to finish on Sunday. While we would prefer that they not have to walk 36, clearly that's a perfectly reasonable tradeoff. They played nearly 36 walking at Aronimink in the PGA Seniors last year, so this is something that they can't not do.

Q. Does that mean you're not concerned from a health standpoint of these players walking 36 in humid conditions on Sunday?

WALTER DRIVER: They'll use their own good judgment. We'll have plenty of fluids out there. It's supposed to be 89 degrees, and my guess is that all this moisture will be coming out of the ground. I think they can do it.

I'm 59 years old and I can do it, so I don't feel that we're imposing on them to ask them to play 36 holes.

Q. How much did it rain, do you know?

SEAN SOVACOOL: My last report I hear we had over an inch and a half.

Q. It was three inches.

SEAN SOVACOOL: Okay, three inches is the word.

Q. Will you be able to cut the rough at all because it's so wet?

WALTER DRIVER: We topped the rough off yesterday afternoon after play was complete. We had planned on letting it go through Sunday, so we probably will do that. We'll look at it again tomorrow, but one of the difficulties that this poses is finding time when there are no players on the course to cut the rough if we wanted to.

Q. Did you top it at four?


Q. What problems, if any, does this create for parking areas and things like that as far as spectators are concerned?

SEAN SOVACOOL: I can tell you that for today's standpoint, we certainly were pleased once the decision was made to cancel because we do have a parking lot that is, of course, a giant farm. We're not at all worried about it with a couple of hours afterwards.

If we would have opened up for play today, we probably would have shot our gate back a little bit from the actual time of the start, but we're not worried about it at all tomorrow. We've got all our preparations in place. We have help from police and local authorities, so we're fully prepared for parking tomorrow. There are some soft spots in the parking lots and those are being graveled as we speak. I think we're pretty well prepared.

Q. Are today's tickets good for tomorrow?

WALTER DRIVER: I was going to say that. You need to make sure you get it in your stories that today's tickets are good for tomorrow, tomorrow's tickets are good for tomorrow, and Sunday's tickets are just good for Sunday.

SEAN SOVACOOL: Actually there has been a change to that policy. What we're going to be doing is we're going to honor Friday's ticket both Saturday and Sunday. Obviously customer service is very important to Bellerive Country Club and the community here. We're sensitive to the fact that we had an event cancel here because of 9/11.

Friday's tickets will be honored, grounds tickets, Saturday or Sunday. From a hospitality respect, we are going to honor all the hospitality tickets that were set for today for the Robert Trent Jones Pavilion and for the Federation Club. Those are common hospitality areas for people who have purchased hospitality tables. Friday will get them in Saturday or Sunday.

Individual corporate hospitality tents are being handled independently by all the corporations. It is the intention to have the Friday ticket be honored for Saturday or Sunday.

Q. At this point you have no intention of extending the championship into Monday, correct?

WALTER DRIVER: We would like to avoid that if we possibly can.

Q. Can I just ask why?

WALTER DRIVER: As I just said, we have thousands of volunteers who have made commitments to be here through the weekend but not commitments to leave their jobs and other things they need to do on Monday. We've got traffic issues with the local authorities, you've got all kinds of problems, and frankly a lot of the players have made commitments to be someplace else on Monday, too.

Q. Do you have a list of players that have withdrawn already?


Q. We've got one player.

WALTER DRIVER: So far one player has withdrawn, Vinny Yost.

Thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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