Any member of the gallery at Congressional Country Club can identify one thing: brown spots in portions of the greens on the Blue Course, an indication of how hard officials from the club and the United States Golf Association pushed the turf to get the greens rolling fast.
But because of the extreme heat last week, the greens are not up to what the USGA had hoped - 14-14.5 on the Stimpmeter, which measures green speeds. With rain last night, the greens could be further softer - and slower - and the greens may never get up to speed.
“This rain is going to have something to say with it now,” said Tom O’Toole, the USGA’s director of championships.
Though some players - notably defending Open champ Graeme McDowell - said they suspected the USGA used certain pin positions in Thursday’s first round because they would be unplayable later in the week, as those portions of the greens worsened, O’Toole insisted there is only cosmetic damage to the greens.
“We don’t have concern about the health of the putting greens whatsoever,” O’Toole said. “.There is a cosmetic consequence of this heat, the oppressive heat we had last week. If we thought it was going to be anything other than cosmetic, we wouldn’t put the hole there.”