Faced with forecasts in the high 90s and heat indexes expected to soar into triple digits throughout this week’s U.S. Women’s Open, the U.S. Golf Association took measures Tuesday to assure spectator safety.
The USGA will give each fan a voucher for a free bottle of water throughout the tournament, set up hydration stations throughout the course and will keep the main and satellite merchandise tents fully open to provide air-conditioned respite for fans, instead of reducing capacity as originally planned.
All four first-aid centers on the course will remain active, and mobile EMS units will continue to patrol on bicycle. Several fans required treatment for dehydration and heat exhaustion at local hospitals during the U.S. Open and that number is expected to increase this week with the heat. At least one girl required intravenous fluids Tuesday.
“I hope people take precautions for the heat, but we are prepared for it should it become an issue,” said emergency medical services supervisor Tommy Cook.
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The National Weather Service forecast calls for highs of at least 95 degrees each day of the tournament, with the humidity pushing heat indexes above 100 degrees – considerably warmer conditions than last week.
For those unavoidably stuck on the course, there are few options. Marshals in sunny positions will rotate into the shade every half-hour.
Players, meanwhile, are already preparing for the stifling conditions by dialing back some of their preparation heading into Thursday’s opening round.
“I played 18 holes yesterday. I’ll just play nine today and nine tomorrow,” Lexi Thompson said. “Take it easy the rest of the day and not wear myself out. But I hydrate, pretty much at least one (bottle of) water a hole. Yeah, hydration is extremely important out here, especially when it’s over 90 degrees.”