Thursday, June 13, 2013

USGA, Merion reinstate grounds crew member suspended for wearing baggy rain pants

Above: Blake O'Sullivan donning baggy rain pants uses a squeegee on the 16th fairway. 
Ardmore, PA--The heavy rains over the last week in southeastern PA has not only caused delays in tee times, but has sparked a pants controversy at the U.S. Open. Yes, a pants dispute. "I just want this whole mess to be over with," said Blake O'Sullivan, 26, a grounds crew member at Merion Golf Club, host of this year's Open. "My baggy pants have become the story of the tournament and that is not at all what I intended. I didn't intend anything." The Narberth, PA, resident said he was in the grounds crew locker room and received a call to report "asap" to the 16th fairway to squeegee the rain-soaked hole, as the course has been battered by precipitation since last Friday. O'Sullivan "grabbed the only pair of rain pants" he saw and ran to the 16th to join the rest of the crew, all the while pulling the surprisingly large rain gear over his jeans during the frantic jog there. "It turns out that I grabbed an XXXL pair of rain pants and I had no time to return to the room and find a proper-fitting pair." On Monday, O'Sullivan was suspended with pay by both the USGA and Merion for "improper inclement weather golf attire" based on Rule Rt-86013-BT-zcx of the USGA grounds crew etiquette handbook. On Wednesday morning, Jesse Jackson led the charge to reinstate the crew member, flying to Philadelphia from Atlanta, and holding a press conference directly across the street from the East Course. "Did Mr. O'Sullivan demonstrate carelessness? Yes. But the crime does not fit the punishment. The ruling parties have shown great preposterousness." Matt Damon, Will Smith, and Sarah Jessica Parker all joined Jackson at the podium to lead the crowd in a slow clap, fast clap after the announcement that O'Sullivan was reinstated.

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