By Chuck Garbedian Special to Published Jun 20, 2009 at 6:05 AM

Hooray for the USGA, they may have gotten this at least a little right.

There was speculation that because of the first round cancellation of the 109th US Open at Bethpage State Park's Black Course on Thursday due to torrential rains, that fans who paid upwards of $100 for a Round One ticket would not be allowed to use that ticket to regain entry into the event, even though it had been cancelled due to weather.

Instead at a press conference Friday morning, it was announced that spectators who have a Thursday, Round One ticket would be to use the ticket if there is Monday play of the Open, which, given the weather conditions looks likely, or if there is no Monday play, those ticket holders will receive a 50 percent refund of their purchase.

However, with the weather situation unsettled for the weekend, the USGA issued a late statement saying that if 90 minutes or more of golf are played on either Saturday or Sunday, that daily tickets for that day will not be refunded or exchanged. In the event that less than 90 minutes of golf are played on either Saturday or Sunday, tickets for that day will be honored on to the course for subsequent play.

It's not perfect, but it is far better than what the USGA originally had stated, that there would be no refund of the purchase and the ticket could not be used during any other day of competition.

Future Forecast: The early forecast in Farmingdale calls for a chance of morning showers followed by scattered afternoon thunderstorms with highs near 75 and the chance of moisture at 60 percent. Sunday calls for a high of only 67 with a 60 percent chance of rain.

Normally, that wouldn't be such an ominous forecast, but with all the moisture Bethpage Black has already absorbed, there is no place for the water to go. Any precipitation will only complicate the equation.

In the history of the US Open, only two times has the tournament not finished on Sunday due to weather delays.

In 1959 at Winged Foot, morning thundershowers postponed the slated 36-hole finale with only 18 holes being completed on Sunday with the final 18 played on Monday. In that Open, Billy Casper finished one stroke ahead of Bob Rosberg.

In 1983 at Oakmont, a Sunday thunderstorm halted play with the leaders still on the golf course with five holes remaining. The final groups came back on Monday with Larry Nelson shooting even par over his final three holes to edge Tom Watson by a stroke.

Lots of Action: If you are a US Open junkie, Friday was your day. It started off with "Live From..." on the Golf Channel, followed by Live action on ESPN until NBC took over, then as if watching a wayward shot hit a turtle in the middle of a pond and then ricochet on to the green for a look at birdie, more bonus round coverage from ESPN when NBC went dark. Sweet.

You know somewhere Tiger Woods is stewing, and for good reason. He ended up on the wrong side of the draw (early-late) and then had to come back out to Bethpage to finish up his first round knowing that he would not get in any of his second round. Then to compound the issue, The Striped One didn't take advantage of the improving conditions and finished off his round with a double bogey on No. 15, a bogey on No. 16 and a bogey on No. 18. Heading to the 15th tee you're even par and have already fought back from an earlier (yeah, like yesterday) double on No.5 only to stumble in. Oh yes, then sit back and watch the late-early wave ride the crest of a birdie barrage. Trust me when I tell you this is not the Bethpage Black that the USGA and the local Super dreamed up when the planning began in earnest months ago.

Tiger who at the beginning of Saturday will find himself tied for 65th will get his shot at round two beginning at 11:06 am local time. The big question will be, what will the course conditions be that greet him at that time?.... As play was suspended at 8:25 p.m. local time, atop the leaderboard is Lucas Glover. Glover posted a first round one-under par 69 and then has backed that up with a bogey free round through 13 holes that includes five birdies to move him to six-under par, one shot ahead of Ricky Barnes. Barnes could be this year's Rocco Mediate as the former US Am Champ has posted a first round three-under par 67 and has backed it up with two birdies and no bogeys through nine holes of his second round to sit one stroke back of Glover at minus-5.

Tied for third is the unlikely duo of Mike Weir and Peter Hanson at minus-four. Hanson, the 31 year old Swede ripped off six birdies en route to a first round four under par 66, while Weir, the left-handed Canadian pummeled Bethpage during a first round 6-under par 64. Into their respective second rounds, Hanson has remained even par through 11 holes while Weir has given two shots back and stands at two over through nine holes of his second round.

The key to all of this is that there is a ton of golf yet to be played. And what the course conditions will be when all of these players complete their respective second rounds and finally get their third rounds underway will be interesting to say the least. Add in another stoppage of play and there is real concern that this event will finish on Monday.

Thank Golf its Friday: Only two players in the morning wave of 78 golfers were able to break par at Bethpage Black and I would imagine that no one had either of them in any US Open pools anywhere. 2007 British Am Champ Drew Weaver from Virginia Tech (he of the cool navy and yellow argyle sweater vest that you can't miss in the highlights and an outfit that you only dare wear if you can play) and 4-time Euro Tour winner Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland both posted respective 1-under par 69s.

True, the greens were softened by the more than one inch of rain over the last 24 hours, but that moisture also made the course much longer than the advertised length of 7,426 yards (at a par of 70). A fast and firm Bethpage Black is something we're not going to see at the 2009 US Open.

The wetness also made for holes that were receiving more easily, long-irons, hybrids and fairway metals. That may or may not change as the event progresses but one thing is for sure, the grounds crew at Bethpage is giving it as well as they are getting it. The course on Friday morning, following hours of torrential rain on Thursday was made ready for play by the hard overnight work of the Bethpage Ground Crew.

Notes: DJ Trahan was putting with his driver after damaging his putter in anger during the round. Under the rules of the game, Trahan cannot replace the club since it was not damaged during the course of regular play. For those of you into the wave, the early wave (Thursday morning) scoring average was 74.2 while the afternoon wave (Thursday afternoon, but actually played on Friday) was 72.9. In all 11 players broke par in the afternoon wave versus two in the early wave.... Stats from the completed first round show, surprise, no eagles. As far as the holes go, no surprise here as No. 5 (478 yards, par 4) is ranked the number one hardest hole, giving up only four birdies, 76 pars, 62 bogeys, 12 doubles and two others.... The easiest hole at Bethpage Black in round one was the par five 4th hole, which has yielded 53 birdies, 78 pars, 19 bogeys and six doubles.... The front nine average for the first round was 36.67 while the back nine average was 37.13 and the 18 hole average came in at 73.80.... ESPN has the coverage beginning at 11 a.m. and then NBC picks it up at 1 p.m. and runs with it the rest of the day. Note, NBC is slated to end coverage at 7 p.m. it all depends on where we are in the rounds given the expected weather conditions.


Chuck Garbedian Special to
Chuck has more than a decade of experience in many aspects of the golf industry -- from sales to teaching to hosting radio talk shows. He has been media chairman for the Greater Milwaukee Open since 1992, has served as women's golf coach at Wisconsin Lutheran College and is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America. He currently does work for PGA TOUR Network on SIRIUS XM Radio.