Going gets tough

The fog has wreaked havoc on the players' regular routines, forcing some to hurry and others to wait. Dealing with the ever-changing situation, and keeping the focus on golf, is just part of the major championship test.


Despite a quick turnaround between the end of his first round and the start of his second, Simon Khan made the best of a difficult day on Friday. (Getty Images)

By Stan Awtrey, PGATOUR.COM Contributor

KOHLER, Wis. -- Hey, Simon Khan, nice first round. Sixty-nine is a very good score. Now, could you please sign your scorecard and get to the tee box. You'll be starting your next round in eight minutes.

Friday was that sort of day at Whistling Straits, which endured a fog delay for the second straight morning, this time for 2 hours and 40 minutes. The delay played havoc with the starting times and the rhythm of the players, who are accustomed to maintaining a regular routine.

"This morning wasn't pleasant," said Matt Kuchar, who had to complete three holes after the restart, conduct a few television interviews and then walk to the first tee. "It wasn't pleasant to wake up at 4 this morning after getting back to the hotel at 9 last night. So I wasn't enjoying that part of it. But right now I'm glad I've played the way I did."

Many of the players shared Kuchar's feelings. They're not rested. Some feel hungry. Kuchar, who who finished his 67 and added a 69, said he even felt sick. It's difficult to play championship golf with a full tank of gas, must less a night with about five hours of sleep.

"It's tough," said Dustin Johnson. "You kind of knew last night that there was going to be a delay, but you still have to get up and get out here early, just in case there's not one. You knew coming from last night and what happened yesterday that it's just going to be a long day and you've got to mentally prepare for it."

Most of them fought through it. Others, like Darren Clarke, struggled out of the gate. Clarke was 5 over on his final six holes, but recovered to shoot a 70 for the second round.

"Difficult day, but that's what happens when you get fog delays," Clarke said. "I think I got out on the wrong side of the bed this morning when I came back out. I had a bad finish, but I came back today and shot 2 under."

Players passed the time in the usual ways -- some light practicing, some heavy eating, and some serious video gaming. They all realized the importance of expending little energy while waiting for the horn to blow.

"The biggest challenge is your energy level, because we're so used to peaking at a certain time," said Bryce Molder. "There's a rythm that we go through. It's funny, we were getting a ride out to the golf course this morning to finally play and I couldn't stop yawning and I'm going, 'Allright, I've got to get going.'"

At least Friday's early risers got to finish their first two rounds, even if it meant playing the last 11 holes of the first round, as was the case with Khan.  No one in the afternoon wave from Friday will come close to completing their second round and will be forced to return bright and early Saturday to finish up.

The second wave of players finally got going on Friday around 3 p.m. The massive crowds had to wait until 5:45 to see Tiger Woods hit his first shot. The last groups didn't start until 6:25 p.m.

Charles Howell III, who wasn't able to complete his second round, said on Thursday that Friday's early wave probably had a slight advantage, since they were able to finish their first round and keep playing on Friday morning.

"It's not easy for anybody, especially on a golf course like this,” he said, “but I would probably take the other side."

Khan might agree. He had to play 29 holes on Friday, but played himself into contention. He may pull for a fog delay every day.