The Open: Waterproofed Keegan Bradley is a splash hit
THERE were many strange sights at Royal Lytham yesterday, the majority spawned by John Daly and one of his most ludicrous outfits in recent years.
Nothing was more strange, though, than seeing Keegan Bradley, the USPGA champion, put on his full waterproof suit to play out of a bunker at the 15th.
Following heavy overnight rain in Lancashire, lots of the traps – and remember there are 206 of them scattered here, there and everywhere – had water in them. Bradley found one but decided not to take a drop, as he would have been permitted to do under the Rules of Golf.
His worry was that it might plug in the sand and make it more difficult for him to go out, so on went the waterproofs. In fairness, it was a sensible decision as he splashed it out and made 5 when the damage could easily have been a lot worse.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever had to that, for sure,” he admitted afterwards. “My problem was that it was going to plug so I had no choice but to play it. It was scary – a roll of the dice. But it was a pretty good shot.”
His caddie, Steve Hale, was handed some credit for its execution after he reminded Bradley of Bill Haas splashing out of a lake to stay alive in his play-off with Hunter Mahan before going on to win last year’s Tour Championship in Atlanta. “You’ve just got to hit it harder and trust it – that’s what ‘Pepsi’ (Hale’s nickname) said,” he added.
Bradley reckoned that 80 per cent of the bunkers had water in them, but said he didn’t look at a rules sheet the players were handed before going out for their second round.
Asked if he felt play should have been suspended until all the water was removed, he replied: “It is an Open and, while I was used to it growing up in New England, I’ve never seen it before at professional level. It is definitely a challenge, but you have got to deal with what’s in front of you.”
Rory McIlroy’s way of dealing it was different than his playing partner. At the 17th, the 2011 US Open champion decided to take a drop from the casual water. His body language as the ball plugged suggested he wished he’d done a Bradley, though he claimed later he had done the right thing.
“I could either play it or take full relief at the nearest point and play it there,” said McIlroy. “I was hoping that it wouldn’t plug and maybe have a chance to get it to the green. But it plugged and I just had to play it out sideways.”
He was also asked if he felt the course was playable in such conditions. “I don’t see any problem with the water in the bunkers,” he insisted. “You just need to keep out of the bunkers, which is the whole idea anyway.”
McIlroy found another one at the short ninth. This one didn’t have any water in it but, after being close to the face, he took two shots to get out. It cost him a double-bogey 5 and, after starting the day at three-under, he’s now two-over after a 75.
“It wasn’t the best day out there,” he admitted.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 19 June 2013
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