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Triple-digit temperatures wreak havoc at Baltusrol



Published: Sat, August 13, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



SPRINGFIELD, N.J. (AP) -- Triple digits are never welcome on a golf course -- especially if it's the temperature and the heat index.

But that's just what fans, workers, volunteers, golfers and caddies had to deal with on a steamy Saturday at Baltusrol Golf Club, where the temperature reached 100 degrees and heat index topped out at 105 in the third round of the PGA Championship.

Record heat engulfed the North Jersey area, and the temperature reached 102 degrees at nearby Newark Liberty International Airport, eclipsing the previous high of 100 set in 1944 and matched three years ago.

The PGA of America reported the temperature at the golf course reached triple digits about 3:30 p.m., shortly after leader Phil Mickelson started his third round.

Tournament director Andy Bush said 157 people were treated for symptoms of heat exhaustion and five were transported to hospitals and later released.

Well-prepared

The PGA is used to the steamy August conditions and is well-prepared for any possibility, Bush said.

There were mist machines near the entrances to the club and on the course, and sprinkler tents were also set up, allowing patrons a chance to take the edge off the searing heat.

A long line snaked around the balcony of the merchandise tent just off the 17th fairway, as some were content to wait for a chance to wander the air-conditioned chalet.

Weather warning signs were posted on the course shortly after 4 p.m. due to inclement weather about 20 miles away, but the storm passed and the warning was rescinded within a half-hour.

Looking for relief

On the course, empty water and sports drink bottles overflowed from trash bags in a shaded area between the fifth tee and third fairway, and spectators lounged on chairs or on the ground near the gallery ropes.

Multiple lines, stacked 15 deep, at a concession stand stretched almost to the gallery ropes along the fifth hole as customers waited to quench their thirst or get something to eat.

Relief came at a hefty price.

Bottled water sold for $2.75, iced tea, soda and lemonade fetched $3.50, a sports drink $4 and beer between $5 and $6.




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