U.S. WOMEN'S OPEN
Michelle Wie and caddie Greg Johnston talked yesterday as they waited for the fog to lift at Newport Country Club.
Fog-et about it
The LPGA major tournament first round is postponed a day due to unusually heavy fog
NEWPORT, R.I. » Only one thing was clear after what was supposed to be the first day of the U.S. Women's Open.
The fog won.
Yesterday's visibility-killing vapor masses hanging over Newport Country Club all morning and afternoon eventually caused postponement of the first round. The only shots taken were by photographers, especially when Michelle Wie ventured out of the clubhouse.
They were to try to play the first round again today, with the second round tomorrow and those who make the cut contesting the third and fourth on Sunday (probably in threesomes, without regrouping between rounds).
Following hours of hurry-up-and-wait, 156 golfers -- including Hawaii teenagers Wie, Stephanie Kono, Ayaka Kaneko and Kimberly Kim -- were all exactly where they were when it began.
After yesterday, everybody from World No. 1 Annika Sorenstam and defending champion Birdie Kim to the most anonymous amateur was still tied for first -- all even with par. And everyone makes it to the weekend. How's that for looking at the bright side on a very un-bright day?
Mike Davis, the USGA's rules director, has in mind a more meaningful blessing in disguise. Maybe fog, like its cousin the cloud, has a silver lining, too.
"One way to look at this is we're probably going to have a better golf course from here on out than we anticipated having," Davis said, after officials called it a day around 2:45 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time following half-hour delays from the first scheduled 7 a.m. tee times.
The concern going into the tournament was rain and a wet course getting wetter and becoming unplayable. There were only a few drizzles yesterday. The low-lying fog didn't help, but it didn't really hurt either, Davis said.
"We just didn't anticipate this. We thought it was going to be raining today and we get this," Davis said.
Greg Johnston, Wie's veteran caddie, has dealt with plenty of delays, but few, if any, for this reason.
"It's not very common," he said. "We don't usually go to many places with fog."
Edie Kloss, a 20-year Newport resident, said fog is common here, but not lasting all day.
"Usually it burns off in the morning," the tournament volunteer said. "I saw it like this once, when I first moved here."
That's once more than Wie. The closest thing she'd experienced was the occasional sampling of vog Oahu gets when the Kona winds remind residents Kilauea is still blowing smoke.
But playing golf for a major championship is a lot more interesting than a weather novelty. Wie managed a short nap between visits to the putting green and the clubhouse spread, but feared missing a tee time that never came (her original start was slated for 1 hour into the tournament).
"It was basically boring. It's been a long day," Wie said in an ESPN interview. "You have to relax but keep yourself up."
Her father, B.J., said he didn't think the delay would affect Michelle's quest for her first victory as a pro.
"Everyone's going through the same thing, so she just has to learn to deal with it," he said.
Michelle Wie entertained reporters and fans after the first round of the U.S. Women's Open golf championship was canceled due to fog yesterday.
THE WILD rough grass, damp conditions and vintage clubhouse combined with the fog to give Newport C.C. a British Open vibe -- except for the minor detail of no golf being played.
Spectators hung around though, watching their favorite players as they hit on the range, practiced putting ... and, most of all, waited.
Despite the lack of sunshine, the weather was better than tolerable for shirt sleeves and shorts, and it only drizzled a little during the day.
The problem was the view. Even the keenest eyes couldn't see from tee to green on the par 3s much of the morning.
"The standards are if the player can see where she is trying to hit the ball," Davis said. "If she's hitting into the green, obviously she has to see the flagstick. And that's what held us back today.
"There were times when you couldn't see 75 yards."
At around 2:15, the fog lifted a bit and visibility improved to 300 and 400 yards.
"And literally 5, 10 minutes later it rolled back in and we were done," Davis said.
Davis can't predict what other tricks the weather might play. He did make a promise, though.
"Yes, we will play 72 holes."