PINEHURST — As temperatures in the mid-90s blazed on the eve of the U.S. Women’s Open, the U.S. Golf Association reiterated that it was taking extra steps to ensure spectators stay safe.
Reg Jones, USGA senior director of championships, said the organization changed its plans and will now keep all four first-aid tents open instead of scaling back.
“We had definitely planned on keeping three of them open, but based on the heat we decided to keep the additional one open,” he said. “For us, having been through a lot of championships here in the Sandhills, that was one of the things with our medical locations. We have more locations than we typically would at a cooler venue or on the West Coast.
“We made them essentially double the size of what we would normally have as a primary first-aid facility in order to accommodate and serve as cooling stations. That was always part of the plan. With the heat, we just felt like we had the ability to supplement it.”
All fans will be provided with vouchers for a free bottle of water when they enter, and they will be able to refill those waters at hydration stations throughout the course. The USGA also will keep the main and satellite merchandise tents fully open to provide an air-conditioned retreat for fans, instead of reducing capacity as originally planned.
Jessica Korda, a two-time winner on the LPGA Tour this year, outlined her plan for dealing with the heat Wednesday. Fans may want to follow it, too.
“Those sun umbrellas will be out this week,” she said, “And loads and loads of water and electrolytes and staying in the shade as much as possible all week.”
The National Weather Service forecasts highs of at least 95 degrees (with heat indexes making it feel even warmer) every day until Sunday. Then it drops to a balmy 93 degrees.