More water on the greens as golfers look to beat the heat

Players making own arrangements for the PGA Championship and plan their suitcase for the conditions at Atlanta.
Luke Donald, right, struggled with the weather last week and will come prepared in Atlanta.
Luke Donald, right, struggled with the weather last week and will come prepared in Atlanta.

For those outside the ropes, there are fans atop the bleachers and misting stations to cool down.

For the players, there are buckets filled with cold, bottled water at every hole.

Better take advantage of it. The US PGA Championship is back in the Deep South, right in the middle of a summer that's more blistering than usual - even for these parts.

When a handful of players showed up at the Atlanta Athletic Club for a practice round, the conditions were about par for the course this year - the temperature climbed above 30°C, the humidity made it feel closer to 40°C.

The forecast calls for more of the same the rest of the week.

Rich Beam, the 2002 PGA champion, wasn't concerned.

"If I'm worried about the heat, then I must not be in very good shape," he said, looking rather fresh after playing the Highlands Course.

Over the last two decades, the PGA has generally scheduled its August championship for courses that might be a bit milder in the middle of summer, places like Whistling Straits (Wisconsin) and Hazeltine (Minnesota).

But the Atlanta Athletic Club, located in a suburb north of its namesake city, has been an exception to the rule. It will become only the fifth club to host the PGA for a third time, serving previously in 2001 and 1981.

Atlanta Athletic Club moved to its current spot in the 1960s. No matter the location, it's going to be a scorcher. The organisers have set up cooling tents around the course, allowing fans to dip under cover for a refreshing mist. Some bleachers have fans.

The players have to make their own arrangements to deal with the heat. Most will be carrying extra gloves and plenty of towels.

Club professional Marty Jertson is used to playing in these temperatures, being from Arizona.

But the humidity presents additional challenges. "It's totally different," Jertson said.

"You've got to switch gloves all the time here. It's a little wet. But I was preparing for the worst. It's not too bad."

Adam Scott pulled away for a four-stroke win at Firestone at the weekend, and about the only thing that went wrong was his choice of wardrobe. The Aussie probably needs to focus more on being properly dressed for the PGA Championship, after getting stuck wearing all-black attire for the final round on a rather balmy Ohio day.

"It was poor planning out of the suitcase," Scott said.

No need to bring any black clothes to the PGA Championship.

"This is nothing compared to what we're going to get in Atlanta," Luke Donald, the world No 1, said after a strong closing round left him tied for second behind Scott. "Hopefully I'll be wearing white every day. Yeah, it's going to be hot and sticky, and get ready to sweat."

Published: August 9, 2011 04:00 AM


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