Two days before the 46th Westwood Invitational begins, no one remembers that the golf course being played was ever this wet.
“We have lakes in places we’ve never had lakes before,” said Lonnie Burks, who will be one of about 150 players who will and will tee off in the first round of the state’s largest stroke play golf tournament on Saturday working behind the counter in the pro shop.
In fact, the driving range has not been open for days; to take a step from the pro shop on the early Thursday evening, after another torrential downpour, there was a fairly deep and not small pond of standing water on the putting clock, the driving range and between the clubhouse and the chipping green.
Still, there seems to be little concern that the spongy course could endanger the tournament. In fact, the tournament is still accepting registrations.
What the rain threatens more than anything is when to prepare for the tournament.
Westwood Park Head Pro Rick Parish, who worked on 26 Westwood Invitationals, who remembers that rain interrupted the tournament a few times but never had that much rain on the course before the tournament, still has to “paint the course “Although he’s not sure when that might happen.
“At least the color will be fresh,” said Parish.
Painting the course means marking it with spray paint to make it clear where the danger lines are and which parts of the course can be considered “ground under repair”, thus offering the golfer free relief.
On the left side of the first par 5 green there is a course that is not intended to be a water hazard, but holds water when it rains on the course. Well, this course is more like a real pond, with a stream running between it and the water hazard just before the seventh green.
This stream is not supposed to exist, and all of this may need to be labeled as a hazard, as well as other locations that are not designed as a hazard.
However, only the rain does not allow Parish to cancel the course.
“You have to dry it a little just to put the paint on.”
Otherwise he paints water.
If he’s lucky, it’ll happen in the dark tonight. If not, it will happen early Saturday before the players tee off.
The heavy rains that hit Norman on Thursday, another 1.77 inches after the heavy rains that hit the city the last week of June, are expected to stop for good by this afternoon.
Wednesday’s rain break, Parish reported, allowed the greens to be mowed and rolled.
Today should finally offer more opportunity to bring the course and the tournament into the form required for the 46th time.
At least the inconvenience of the weather doesn’t diminish the enthusiasm for getting dressed.
“I love it,” said pastor.
He’s sure to love it even more once the rain finally stops.