An Interview With: Mark Russell

MARK STEVENS: Okay.  I’d like to welcome Mark Russell.  He’s the Vice-President of Rules and Competitions at the Tour.  Mark, if you want to just kind of talk about the decision that’s been made and then we’ll have some questions.

MARK RUSSELL:  Well, you know, it started raining and wouldn’t stop.  The golf course got to a point where it was saturated.  15th hole is unplayable.  We couldn’t see it getting any better and several other holes were under water, too.

We got to a point we knew we couldn’t finish so we sent them out there at anytime it was going to be unplayable, virtually unplayable.  Made a decision to let it drain tonight and come back in the morning and be in position, resume play at 9:00.

MARK STEVENS:  Okay.  Questions?

MARK RUSSELL:  Pretty self-explanatory.

Q.  What about tomorrow’s weather forecast?

MARK RUSSELL:  There’s a chance of some fog in the morning but not much we can do about that and a chance of some afternoon thunderstorms but hopefully we’re going to be finished before that happens.  Of course, this morning it wasn’t supposed to rain until this afternoon.  They were right about that.  Let’s hope they’re right about tomorrow.

Q.  Can you talk about the 15th hole, I mean —

MARK RUSSELL: The problem we had at 15, the landing area was totally saturated with the creek that overran.  We thought that might drain but the spillway, the damn across the street was overflowing.  Never seen it overflow like that.

It’s feeding that pond which is overflowing and until that spillway stops flowing, there’s no way the water is ever going to stop.  But, you know, we’ll see what happens.  Hopefully we’ll play at 9:00 in the morning.

Give the golf course a chance to drain.  Keith Wood and his staff have done a fantastic job in getting the golf course ready to go — and would y’all tell Mark we’re having a press conference — and they did a great job, did everything they could do.

I finally told them about 45 minutes, an hour ago, “Guys, just relax.”  We don’t want to work you guys in the ground for no reason.  Let’s just hold off and see if this thing drains at all and then we’ll put those efforts to use in the morning.

It’s a shame.  We’re set to have a big day today.  But, you know, Mother Nature didn’t cooperate.

Q.  Do you think the players are satisfied with that decision, happier to wait it out than —

MARK RUSSELL:  Not really concerned.  They are not.  What else we going to do?

Q.  Any idea how much rain you got out here today?

MARK RUSSELL:  We got 1.5 inches overnight.  Said we got 6/10s in this last one.

MARK STEVENS:  There was another tenth of an inch this morning.  2.2.

MARK RUSSELL:  We kept thinking it was — once it stopped raining we could really do some work but it just kept — just a hard drizzle for an hour and, you know, wouldn’t let anything drain.

Q.  You mentioned Keith Wood and his staff.  What kind of things were they doing to, I guess, help it?

MARK RUSSELL:  Squeegeeing some areas.  Until it stops raining you’re wasting your time squeegeeing.  I don’t want to waste that energy.  But, you know, I was just talking about coming in, they had the golf course in great condition and, you know, they’ll do a good job in the morning.  When it wouldn’t stop raining, it was just saturated and we knew we couldn’t finish.  No reason to send them back out there, play two, three holes.

MARK STEVENS:  Okay.  Also, going to get questions later.  Webb had a ruling on No. 9.  Are you up on that, talk to him about that?

MARK RUSSELL:  No.  I don’t know anything about it.  I knew we had a ruling at 9.  I didn’t know what it was.  We’ll let the staff handle it.

MARK STEVENS:  Scratch from the record.

Q.  What time was the final decision made to stop it, 5:30, 5:25?

MARK RUSSELL:  About 5:30.

MARK STEVENS:  Everybody good?  Thanks a lot, Mark.  See you tomorrow.

MARK RUSSELL:  Thank you.




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