By Mark Lamport-Stokes
LOUISVILLE Kentucky (Reuters) - Former U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell slammed PGA Championship organizers on Sunday while describing conditions as "unplayable" early on in the rain-hit final round at Valhalla Golf Club.
Roughly an inch of heavy rain swept across the par-71 course in just under two hours, eventually forcing play to be suspended before ducks began to frolic in the rivers of water that flooded some of the fairways.
McDowell, who is not known for his length off the tee, was left frustrated after organizers opted not to implement "lift, clean and place" rules, which are common in regular PGA Tour events but not in majors.
"It was unplayable this morning," the Northern Irishman told reporters after closing with a two-under-par 69 for a one-under total of 283, well down the leaderboard. "The ball should have been played up (lift, clean and place), simple.
"To me it's fair out there if you can play the ball up. It's not fair if you can't play the ball up. It's casual water everywhere. The ball is picking up mud.
"Common sense has to prevail at some point. You go out to a PGA Tour event and we wouldn't have been playing if 'lift, clean and place' had not been implemented."
The rules of golf require the ball to be played "as it lies", though there is provision for local committees to implement 'lift, clean and place' if justified by course conditions, and this is done in regular PGA Tour events.
McDowell, who clinched his only major title at the 2010 U.S. Open, is a medium-length hitter at best and accepts he will always suffer on wet courses that play ultra-long.
"If I had to play in these types of conditions, week-in, week-out, I would literally be out of a job," said the 35-year-old from Portrush.
"I can't compete out there, simple. That's fine. There's 52 weeks a year and lots of other events where I can compete. The elements kind of got against me this week and stuff happens.
"I'm just banging my head against the wall out there. It's impossible for me to compete unless I'm hitting three-hybrid to 10 feet all day long which I'm not going to do."
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Gene Cherry)