Brendon de Jonge and other battled triple-digit temperatures Friday.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
BETHESDA, Md. — Forty-eight years ago, temperatures reached 108 degrees during Ken Venturi’s victory in the U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club.
Friday, it was hotter.
The heat index reached a high of 109 degrees for the second round of the AT&T National, where players battled a tough course and dangerously high temperatures.
“I’ve never been so hot in my life,” Michael Thompson said. “Pure misery.”
Added Rod Pampling: “It’s ridiculous. It’s just so hot, you’re looking for wind anywhere, shade. It’s just a hot, hot, hot day. We survived and put a good round in.”
Survival was the story much of the day with temperatures reaching triple digits by mid-afternoon.
“It was kind of draining,” Brendon de Jonge said. “It’s starting to get just hot now, really, really hot.”
And de Jonge played in the morning and is from Zimbabwe, where it can get notoriously hot.
At one point, Chris Couch had to call for medical attention.
Jimmy Walker isn’t used to this kind of heat, either. All he could do was try to prepare for it.
“We know how to battle through the heat and stay hydrated, take your hydration pills and little mixed drinks,” Walker said. “It’s the fans you’ve got to worry about because they’re out walking around and they don’t get into this type of stuff and get out and walk in it too much. I saw one lady that went down today, and I’m pretty sure it was probably from dehydration.”
Watching the golf was one thing. Playing in it was another.
The heat only made the course more difficult.
A year ago, rain kept conditions soft during the U.S. Open at Congressional. This week, there hasn’t been a drop in sight and Congressional played over par for a second straight day.
“If there’s no rain, it’s going to be something else,” said Robert Garrigus, who was also worried about his caddie, Brent Henley, after Henley received 40 stitches when he cut his head open the day before. “I think it’s a mental thing because we’re all physically fit for the most part. I’m a lot more physically fit than I used to be. If you can just mentally just put it out of your head ‑‑ my caddie was telling me yesterday, hey, man, just think of the tournaments you’ve played well in; Tampa it was smoldering; Memphis it was smoldering. You play well in the heat because you don’t think about it.”
The same was true Friday with Garrigus shooting 67 to enter the weekend in contention.
“It’s one of those things where if you can just get past the fact that you’re dripping sweat all over your golf ball, you can block it out,” Garrigus said. “It makes a big, big difference.”
So does being fit.
“I live in it; I live in Florida,” said Tiger Woods after a 68 to leave himself near the top of the leaderboard with two rounds to play. “It’s not quite this hot, but it’s definitely more humid than this every day.
“I think it’s one of the reasons why I had success at Southern Hills, because I felt physically fit, didn’t have a problem with it. I’ve played some good tournaments over the years in Malaysia and other places where it’s hot, and certainly fitness, running all those miles and lifting all those weights, it comes into play when you get days like this, and consecutive days like this.”
- Brendon de Jonge