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U.S. Open field looking to play in the mud

June 12, 2013|By David Wharton
  • Matt Kuchar, seen hitting a shot under sunny skies, could face rainy conditions Thursday along with the rest of the U.S. Open field.
Matt Kuchar, seen hitting a shot under sunny skies, could face rainy conditions… (Scott Halleran / Getty Images )

Lift, clean and play?

Not for the big boys at the U.S. Open.

United States Golf Assn. officials have insisted that no special accommodations will be made for players despite a rainy week and a forecast that calls for additional downpours during the first round on Thursday.

"I'd be a fan of being able to clean the mud off," Matt Kuchar said. "I think it's one of those really rotten breaks in golf.... You drive it down the middle of the fairway and get mud on the ball. You have no idea exactly what's going to happen, just have no real control."

Lift, clean and play -- a part of golfing rules that allows players to wipe mud off balls that land in the fairway -- is no stranger to the PGA Tour. But, over the years, the USGA has remained philosophically opposed to employing such relief at a national championship.

"I'm kind of split on the issue," said Graeme McDowell, who won the Open in 2010. "I think there's a need for it at times. I get the fact that the USGA, the Masters and the R&A, they don't like giving the golf ball in the hand."

The latest forecast for Thursday calls for anywhere between a quarter of an inch and three inches of rain.

Mud balls could become an issue on a course that measures less than 7,000 yards and will see players trying to hit precise wedges at numerous greens.

"Speaking personally, I'm not a guy that controls the mud ball very well," McDowell said. "I'm hoping they make the right call."


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