Thursday tix not valid for rest of Open

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- Even though most of the field didn't hit a ball Thursday, tickets for the day are no longer valid for the rest of the tournament.

Unlike baseball, where a rain check is issued if an official game isn't played, the USGA has no such policy.

If a whole day's play is wiped out, the USGA would honor that day's tickets at a later date, possibly Monday, if the the tournament were forced to continue on a fifth day.

Rain delays are rare in the U.S. Open unless it happens to be played on Long Island.

Thursday's suspension of play at Bethpage Black because of heavy rain meant a third straight Open on Long Island to be affected at some point by the weather.

In the 2004 Open, played at Shinnecock Hills farther east on Long Island, a thunderstorm at 4:43 p.m. caused a 2-hour, 12-minute delay, and when play was resumed, it was called off for the day 45 minutes later because of fog.

That was the last time, until Thursday, a round was not completed the day it started.

The only other time the Open was held at Bethpage, in 2002, play was suspended for 49 minutes late in the final round because of severe weather.

With the weather forecast for the next few days far from bright, talk has begun of the 72-hole tournament not being completed until Monday, or even later next week.

Only twice has a U.S. Open not finished on Sunday because of weather delays, and it has never gone beyond that.

From 1926 until 1965, the Open was played over three days with 36 holes contested on Sunday.

In 1959, at Winged Foot north of New York City, morning thundershowers on Sunday forced three suspensions of play, so only 18 holes were played that day and the tournament was finished on Monday with Billy Casper finishing one stroke ahead of Bob Rosburg.

In 1983, at Oakmont near Pittsburgh, play was suspended because of a thunderstorm with the leaders five holes from finishing. The players returned Monday and Larry Nelson shot even par over his final three holes to beat Tom Watson by a stroke.

The Open has finished on a Monday many times, including last year, because of the 18-hole playoff used rather than a sudden-death format.