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2013 U.S. Open: Rain remains the story

ARDMORE, Pa. The overriding theme of the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club has been the 6 inches of rain that has drenched Merion Golf Club over the past six days.

And the tournament doesn’t even begin until Thursday morning.

The weather has made an unfamiliar course for most players even more difficult to prepare for. After a deluge Monday, conditions were warm and sunny Tuesday and Wednesday and Merion’s East Course had drained well.

But another storm is expected Thursday afternoon, which would soften up the course even more and potentially play havoc with the schedule.

“I played this golf course 12 months ago,” said Graeme McDowell, who won the 2010 Open at Pebble Beach. “It was phenomenal, ready to go. I played it last Wednesday, it’s phenomenal, ready to go. And then we get here and it’s disappointing.”

Although the weather is forecast to be clear most of the weekend, an already soggy Merion is expected to play longer than its 6,996 yards (one of the shortest layouts in U.S. Open history).

“Typically we see (the U.S. Open) as a fast, firm event,” Steve Stricker said. “But it is just Mother Nature. They can’t control that.”

However the course plays, it will be the same for everybody in the 156-player field.

“Somebody is going to pick up the trophy, hopefully, Sunday night,” McDowell said. “If it’s Monday night, so be it.”

Notes

• Cheyenne Woods, a former Wake Forest golfer, who is probably better known as Tiger Woods’ niece, is at the U.S. Open as a reporter. Her uncle was caught off-guard when he realized it was Cheyenne asking him a question during a news conference earlier this week.

“Didn’t expect that,” said Tiger, grinning.

• The U.S. Golf Association announced a pace-of-play initiative Wednesday, which involves television commercials featuring Woods, Arnold Palmer, Annika Sorenstam and actor Clint Eastwood.

USGA championship chairman Tim O’Toole said the initiative is extending to the U.S. Open, where a rules official will walk with each threesome at the U.S. Open to help the players stay in position. Each threesome is expected to complete its round in at least 4 hours, 39 minutes.

• An interesting by-product of the threesome of Woods, Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy on Thursday and Friday: Scott’s caddie Steve Williams used to be on Woods’ bag.

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