Belfast Telegraph

Graeme McDowell cries foul as officials stick by the rules

By Phil Casey

Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter criticised tournament officials after torrential rain interrupted the final round of the 96th US PGA Championship. Play was suspended for almost two hours after an inch of rain fell on an already saturated Valhalla course, pushing the tee time for the final group to 4:19pm.

Despite rain being forecast, officials opted not to start play from two tees or allow preferred lies to be used.

"It was unplayable this morning. The ball should have been played up, simple," insisted McDowell. "To me it's fair out there if you can play the ball up.

"It's casual water everywhere. The ball is picking up mud. No one said anything this morning because you're three and four over par and no one really cares.But we called it," added the Northern Irishman.

"We said this is going to get delayed with the second guys start stepping on the tee box and it means a lot to them. Sure enough, it did.

"Yeah, probably the heaviest downpours of the day (came) after they called it, but they should have just played the ball up.

"Common sense has to prevail at some point. You know, let's lift, clean and place this thing. You go out to a PGA Tour event and we wouldn't have been playing."

European team-mate Poulter ran up a triple-bogey seven on the 12th during the downpour in a closing 72 and was also critical.

"You're unfortunately going to get guys that are going to mis-hit a lot of shots and get badly punished. It might be someone's week to win a Major, and unfortunately it isn't because of an awkward lie in a soggy fairway."

Although the greens drained superbly due to a special sub-air system, Poulter felt play restarted too early on the sodden fairways.

"We pretty much took relief on every fairway and twice we had to take relief from the fairway into the rough to get a dry spot," he added. "We were asked to stay in position on the 12th green too and it was just laughable in the end.

"Hold position, hold position, hang on a second, we can't even see anything apart from water. There's only so much rain an umbrella can keep off you. You're going to get wet."

Poulter now has just one event remaining, the first FedEx Cup event in a fortnight's time, in which to try and qualify automatically for the Ryder Cup.

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