Rain a Pain for Sports Fans in the Northeast

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Rain, rain, go away.

A huge low-pressure system
is causing inclement weather from New Mexico to Michigan to Maine. And
it's already had a profound effect on sporting events all over the
place, but particularly in the Northeast.Rain a Pain for Sports Fans in the Northeast

Thursday night's Red Sox game at Fenway against the Marlins was called after five innings with the home side on the wrong end of a 2-1 score. As we've already heard, the rain-shortened loss was not well received in the Sox' clubhouse.

Fans in the Bronx braved a five-hour, 26-minute rain delay to see the Yankees get shut out by Craig Stammen
and the lowly Washington Nationals. The precious few who remained
throughout the afternoon were allowed, eventually, to move down into
better seats closer to the field. Furthermore, those holding tickets
for the game, whether they never showed up to the stadium or sat there
all day waiting for baseball, will get a free ticket to any non-premium
Yankees game the rest of this season or in 2010.

Over on Long Island, the U.S. Open, being played at the already
ridiculously tough Bethpage Black course, teed off Thursday at 7 a.m.
under even more difficult soggy conditions, but play was halted at
10:16 by "torrential rains."

As Gannett's Mike Lopresti wrote on USATODAY.com, "They got
through barely three hours, as the golf course turned into Bathpage.
It's unusual to see so many people pay good money to come watch a flood."

But as everyone knows, it's not just about getting in as much of the
action as possible. It's about making the fans happy. And as Lopresti
suggested, people had dropped some serious dime to see Tiger, Phil,
et. al do their thing on the links. So a couple of hours of action —
during which Tiger finished just six holes and Phil didn't even tee off
— didn't cut the mustard.

The 50,000-plus fans likely in attendance at Bethpage weren't happy
with the USGA's original decree that fans with tickets for Thursday's
round would not be allowed to use them at a future date. No rainchecks.
Caveat emptor. Tough break.

So under heavy pressure from the New York media, USGA executive director David Fay
backtracked at a news conference Friday morning, saying that if there
is golf still to be played on Monday — either because of the inclement
weather pushing back the fourth round or because of a potential 18-hole
playoff — fans with tickets for Thursday would be allowed free admission.

Later Friday came a statement from New York State attorney general Andrew Cuomo that the USGA will now refund Thursday ticket purchasers 50 percent of their ticket price if there is no golf on Monday.

"I commend the USGA for stepping up to the tee and doing right by their fans," said Cuomo.

Kudos are indeed due to the USGA. Maybe the customer is always right.

Of course, checking Monday's weather, showers are once again in the forecast. So even if the customer is always right, he or she can still get the raw end of the deal every now and then.

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