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Dry Australian Open Greens Too Fast to Play

November 21, 2002|From Associated Press

MELBOURNE, Australia — The first round of the Australian Open was suspended today because the dry greens at Victoria Golf Club were too fast.

Australian Golf Union officials enforced a suspension when players complained that their balls would not stay on the greens. After Richard Ball putted past a hole three times, and the ball rolled back 20 feet, his group refused to continue.

Play was halted for more than 40 minutes as ground staff watered the third, 11th and 14th greens, but the round was postponed. No scores from the morning session will count.

The first and second rounds were rescheduled for Friday and Saturday, with 36 holes to be played Sunday.

Defending champion Stuart Appleby, who shot a three-over 73 Thursday, described the greens as "Teflon-coated," "diabolical" and resembling "five o'clock shadow."

"The people involved need to take responsibility for what's happened," Appleby said. "They knew the weather....

"They've played with the snake that is Victoria, and they've been bitten. The problem is, we get the venom."

Rich Beem didn't think adding a little water would help the greens.

"You'd be better off spitting on them a couple of times," the PGA champion said.

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