Long, wet course should favor long hitters

Thursday, June 29, 2006

NEWPORT, R.I. -- Newport Country Club is dripping with history. The links-style course is such a throwback that it still doesn't have an irrigation system. The first major champion in the United States was crowned at Newport in 1895, and the club is one of the five charter members of the USGA.

But on the eve of the U.S. Women's Open, the first professional major at this site in 111 years, history gave way to a bleak forecast. The course has received more than 13 inches of rain during the last six weeks, including 3 1/2 inches last weekend. Local fire companies have pumped more than 3 million gallons of water off the course, and some bunkers still resemble small, dirty pools.

"It's going to be a wet, long U.S. Open," said Mike Davis, the USGA's senior director of rules and competition.

The course will play at least 6,564 yards, making it the longest at sea level for the Women's Open.

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