We're going to have situations where, if it does dry out through the weekend and hit a few good drives down there and get a few mud balls we're going to have to deal with it. It's part of the game, getting up and down, and dealing with some of the situations like that. -Tiger Woods
I think mud balls are a problem. I think they're unfair. I think golf is designed to be played from a closely mown fairway. If you hit it in that fairway you deserve a great line and a great opportunity to attack the green surface. That's the reward you get for hitting the fairway. I think guys who hit it low, guys who hit it high, guys who have a different spin rate, mud balls affect them differently. -Graeme McDowell
So if you do drive the ball well on those holes, and you manage to hit a lot of fairways and hopefully you don't get too many mud balls and control your second shots, you can have a good round of birdies. - Sergio Garcia
ARDMORE, Pa. -- If you've been paying attention to the U.S. Open this week, after three days of practice rounds and press conferences, you may be thinking to yourself...
What the hell is a mud ball?
A "mud ball" is the scientific term for a golf ball with mud on it. And if you haven't heard, it's rained a little bit at Merion. The course has taken on more than 6 1/2 inches of rain in the last week and more is on the way.
Mud balls will be a problem this week because the USGA doesn't believe in the practice known as "lift, clean and place." Most PGA Tour events, when conditions call for it, will allow players in the fairway to mark their position, pick up their ball, and clean it off. But not the U.S. Open.
So what does mud do to a golf ball? Let 1971 U.S. Open champion Lee Trevino, who beat Jack Nicklaus in a playoff that year at Merion, explain:
All this theory about, oh, if the mud's on the right it will go left and if the mud's on the left it will go left and believe me, that's a bunch of baloney," Trevino said. "You don't know where the hell it's going to go when that mud is on there."
So if you can't control a golf ball with mud on it, and the USGA won't let you clean it off, and the U.S. Open is on the line, what can you do about it? We need some WWLTD bracelets.
LEE TREVINO: Well, I had an advantage in the mud. I hit a low ball. Very seldom my ball ever picked up mud because I went so low that it cleaned itself before it stopped rolling. You think about that. You think that's funny, but it's true. And you have to adapt your game to that. If your ball starts picking up mud out there and you're going up here, brother, you better bring this baby down here (Indicating).
But that's one of the reasons that I played so well when it was wet. Also, here's the only time that we were off when we were working is when it was raining and it was muddy and the course was closed, so we could go out and play (Trevino caddied as a kid). But I learned to play that way simply because I didn't like that mud on the ball. So I bring the ball down. Just hit it low. You won't pick up any mud. No.
This is the same guy who would hustle club pros and beat them while playing with a shovel.
I anticipate a lot of "balls" comments.