US Open golf: Mud balls a major concern at Merion

News & Tour

Forget wet hands or clothing - the recent rain at Merion brings with it a much bigger issue

By nature, professional golfers like constants and despise variables.

Anything out of their control irritates them – especially when it can mean a well-executed shot is punished.

It is therefore music to no-one’s ears that the weather that has recently battered the course is likely to produce clingy mud that will stick to balls and produce odd flights.

When this happens at a regular event, the organisers introduce the clean and place rule, but the USGA don’t want a Major to be won using winter rules, and as such the players will have to cope.

Stewart Cink says there’s no way to accurately predict how the ball will fly. The 2009 Open champion told Golfweek’s David Dusek: “It’s a vagary, and if there’s one thing that professional golfers do not like, it’s vagaries.

“We like no surprises and predictability. Mud throws all that out, and you have to start rolling the dice a little bit.”

He added: “There really is no tried-and-true method for playing in the mud – you just hope that you don’t get a lot of mud.”

Carl Pettersson also spoke out. The Swede said: “I don’t think it’s fair. I mean, you hit the ball in the middle of the fairway and then get a mud ball that can go 20, 30 or 40 yards off line.”

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