Matt Shaffer planned to check out the 11th green late this afternoon to see if water had overtaken it. It was raining so hard at the time, though, he chose to skip it.
Closing time came early for Shaffer and his green crew at Merion Golf Club, site of the U.S. Open in Ardmore, Pa., where Mother Nature has parked a storm front overhead (see this image of the 16th fairway for proof).
Approximately 5.5 inches of rain has fallen on Merion since Friday, including another 1.5 inches already today and it may not be over yet. Shaffer (pictured at the far right) joined USGA Executive Director Mike Davis (center) and championship committee chairman Tom O'Toole Jr., in the Media Center a little over an hour ago to discuss some of the issues they face.
By that time, Shaffer already had made the decision to let his crew know there would be no mowing, no anything, the rest of the day.
"If we did something tonight, we'd destroy it," Shaffer says.
Instead, the crew will be back at it again bright and early in the morning.
Yet as far as whether the golf course can continue to sustain a pounding, Shaffer isn't in panic mode.
"We're saturated now and we're still in the mid 12s (Stimpmeter readings)," he says. "We drain really well."
Davis, who is calling the shots from the USGA perspective, concurred.
"It is maybe the best draining golf course I have ever seen," he says. "If you walk this course you know there's hardly any flat lies at Merion."
Davis also noted that if they would have to use a hole on the West Course in case No. 11 is unplayable during the championship, that option is at best a long shot.
"I think in terms of a doomsday scenario, who knows, if it's 10,000 to 1 that we would have that happen," he says. "But we don't anticipate that happening."
Shaffer's dream scenario in all of this?
"If we could catch three days of no rain, we would be fast and firm for the weekend," he says.
Davis, though, already is noting that Thursday "isn't looking all that promising" in relation to the weather.
Stay tuned. At Merion, they simply hope to stay dry.