By Jim Owczarski Sports Editor Published Jul 04, 2012 at 6:07 PM Photography: Jim Owczarski

KOHLER - Hydration and rest have become two key words for this week's U.S. Women's Open at Blackwolf Run in Kohler. With temperatures hitting triple digits, winning is no longer just about course management.

Caddies walked around with umbrellas to hold over player's heads today at the U.S. Women's Open, and wet towels were slung around the necks of others.

Volunteers in golf carts rushed back and forth to the coolers on tee boxes to replenish the quickly disappearing water.

While these women are used to playing in hot weather, the added element of being a major championship set up by the United States Golf Association might make this a true survival of the fittest.

"It is very hot out there. It's muggy," said 2010 U.S. Women's Open champion Paula Creamer. "Being hydrated and taking care of yourself is going to be a huge factor. It's just such a mental grind in itself being out there, and the fact when you add all these other elements to it and delays and whatnot. Hopefully we don't get any. This would be nice. We already had one. That's a typical U.S. Open."

Creamer, one of a handful of American favorites in the field, admitted each round is going to be physically draining.

It's why many players scaled back their practice rounds over the last two days, sometimes playing only nine holes, or as little as three or four.

"The weather is so hot, I made a plan to practice only in the morning before Noon or one o'clock - and I'm just playing nine holes," defending champion So Yeon Ryu told "Practice is really important, but the most important thing is keeping in great condition physically. At the hottest moment the important thing is not too much practice, it's drinking plenty of water."

Much has been made about how difficult Blackwolf Run is, how speedy the greens are and how thick the rough is.

In the end however, the heat may be the true determining factor.

Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.

A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.

To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.

Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining

In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.

Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.