Memorial weather delay imposes intimidating physical test on players
DUBLIN, Ohio – A game that’s widely seen as a mental exercise more than a physical test has reached the blue collar part of the season.
After 31 holes in the heat and humidity at the Memorial on Friday, Branden Grace was done. “They say Monday is the longest day in golf, but try to play 31 holes around this place, it’s going to beat you up,” he said.
Grace is signed up to play the final qualifier for the US Open on Monday at her home club in South Florida, a 36-hole marathon that is widely regarded as the ultimate test in the game, but Friday was hardly a walk in the lush Jack Nicklaus park.
Due to storms that started and stopped and started and stopped play on day one, more than half of the field failed to complete the first round, forcing overtime on Friday.
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Moments after Grace finished her round, Joel Dahmen slumped against a wall after a 73 second round which could have been so much better without a collection of late mistakes. He wasn’t looking for excuses, but 33 holes a day is a loot.
“I’m not in great shape,” Dahmen smiles. “Facts are facts. I don’t know if i can go 33 [holes] then go 36 [on Monday] a few days later. I don’t have good cardio. I laughed in the scoring area and asked Louis [Oosthuizen], ‘Is that why the guys train on the Tour?’ This must be.”
Dahmen is also set to play Monday’s US Open qualifier here in Columbus, Ohio, which just adds to what has already been a long week.
Thanks to perfect weather on Friday, Muirfield Village officials will be back on schedule for round three, but that was little comfort for those who endured two wet days of rough, steep hills.
“I’m pretty tired. I woke up at 4.30am this morning and started my warm up and played 33 and this golf course is one of the toughest steps, ”said Patrick Cantlay, who walked off the course with a 67 in the second round for an 8- under the total.
Beyond the cost of playing 33 holes, players also have to contend with this rough which every time makes offline an adventure. After the first round, Rory McIlroy suggested the rough was unfair, but that’s nothing new to Jack’s Place.
“It’s really brutal and it’s wet. The fairways are pretty generous, but if you don’t hit them the first hole is one of the hardest fairways to hit, ”said Dahmen. “The par 5 if you hit it in the rough you can put it back in play, but then I had a 5 iron today in the No. 7. I hit the driver and I didn’t could only cut it over 100 meters. “
While this may sound like a complaint, the truth is that the Memorial has long been considered one of the most demanding tests on the PGA Tour and a dramatic redesign of the course after last year’s tournament has not softened any from its edges, although Nicklaus had said so earlier. week, he thought that the course would play on a stroke easier.
Nicklaus’s prediction so far is almost perfect. Last year the average score was 74 moves and over 1 ¾ rounds this week the average is 72.92.
But that probably doesn’t inspire any of the players who woke up from 4 am for a marathon Friday or anyone unlucky enough to find the rough this week.
“When I was in the rough I had a few where you know you just grab it on the chin and go 100 yards, try to save a par or something from there, but it’s thick. ” said Grace.
Although the physical difficulty is very real, it is the mental toll that is the most difficult for the players. Cantlay said he spent Friday trying not to fall asleep on the course.
“We’ve been here for so long today that you might fall asleep a bit behind the wheel,” Cantlay said. “Just being aware of that and checking with yourself, are you as focused as possible, when you need to be, I think that’s the key.”
With Monday’s US Open qualifying looming for many, this is just the start of the most grueling part of professional golf.