FARMINGDALE, N.Y. - If the weather people are correct, Bethpage Black could turn into Bethpage Soaked today.
The forecast for the first round of the U.S. Open calls for one-half to one inch of rain, heavy at times, on a course that has played wet and long during this week's practice rounds.
Unfortunately, certain areas of the course, including the 18th fairway and its adjacent bunkers, cannot take much more water.
"The area of most concern is the 18th fairway," said Jim Hyler, vice president of the U.S. Golf Association and chairman of the championship committee. "That is built on a swamp. It does not drain very well. It's very, very wet. We'll have to watch that very carefully."
Hyler said the USGA would not approve lift-clean-and- place rules for the Open.
"If we can't play it, if it's not fair to be playing the ball as it lies, we'll suspend play," he said. "We'll stay here until we get a champion."
Leave the car home. With no general parking available near the golf course, the Long Island Railroad probably is an easier way to get to Bethpage.
The Ronkonkoma branch of the LIRR, which runs between New York City and eastern Long Island, stops at the Farmingdale Station. Fans must pass through security before shuttle buses take them on a short ride to the course.
If you must take your car, complimentary parking is provided at Jones Beach State Park, off the Meadowbrook Parkway on Long Island's South Shore. A shuttle bus then embarks on the estimated 25-minute ride to the course.
Chip-ins. The USGA announced that Oakmont Country Club east of Pittsburgh had been selected as the site of the 2016 U.S. Open. It will mark Oakmont's record ninth time hosting a U.S. Open, and its first since 2007. . . . Soren Kjeldsen of Denmark withdrew from the Open because of an ear infection. He will be replaced by Steven Conway, a professional from Murrieta, Calif.
- Joe Juliano