2013 U.S. Open: Will leaders finish final round before dark?
Phil Mickelson's third round at the 2013 U.S. Open took five hours and 28 minutes to complete Saturday afternoon (into the evening).
Some observers noted that his first six holes took roughly two and a half hours.
If his round takes that long again today on what is supposed to be the final day at Merion Golf Club — barring a tie at the top of the leaderboard, that is — he won't finish until 8:48 p.m.
The first question is: Will it still be light enough out to see across the ravine at the 17th and 18th holes?
The second question is: Why is the final pairing of Mickelson and Hunter Mahan teeing off at 3:20 p.m.?
The first tee time Sunday morning was 8:45 a.m.
The United States Golf Association may be banking on a couple of differences between Saturday and today.
As Rickie Fowler pointed out Saturday evening when asked after his round why it was taking players more than five hours to get through 18 holes, "A lot of guys made the cut, threesomes, split tees," one player, Rickie Fowler, said as some reason why five and a half hour rounds were the norm Saturday. "We had two groups on the first tee when we made the turn. And the course isn't playing easy. So all that together, it's going to take a while to get around."
Today, the USGA groups the players into pairs, not threesomes, which should help get them around the course quicker. And everyone tees off the first hole, which will cut down on some of Merion's quirky crosspaths.
Then, as long as players make aces like Shawn Stefani here at No. 17 (watch the VIDEO, it's amazing) and avoid 10s like Sergio Garcia on Saturday at No. 15, the day shouldn't end so late.
Philly.com has complete coverage of the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club.