Questions For Mark Russell

A soggy PGA Tour official talks about rain, fairway fishing and the Big Coat
February 28, 2005

SI: How do you feel about Monday finishes in the rain?

MR: USA Today has been doing a series on the worst jobs in sports. The paper should've included mine this week.

SI: Did you think the playoff was going to go another hole after both Chad Campbell and Adam Scott chipped to within five feet?

MR: I was already figuring out how to get them back to the tee in carts. Then Chad tried to slam his putt into the hole, and it lipped out.

SI: Do you dread coming to the West Coast?

MR: We know the weather at Pebble Beach can be tough. The strange thing is that we've had problems in Los Angeles, where you'd expect the weather to be nice. L.A. is beautiful 99% of the time; then the Tour comes to town.

SI: What's more powerful, the SI cover jinx or the Tour's ability to bring rain?

MR: We could probably end the drought in Sudan.

SI: Are you O.K. with a 36-hole tournament?

MR: If that's all we can do, yes. We're at the mercy of the elements.

SI: The Tour seems obsessed with having 72-hole events.

MR: We had some rain-shortened tournaments, and some players decided we needed to make every effort to play 72 no matter what, so they put that edict [into the bylaws].

SI: Is it called the Neal Lancaster Rule because he won a 36-hole event in '94 after a six-man playoff on a par-3?

MR: I've heard it called that. I wasn't there, but that was the tournament that changed the players' attitudes about going 72 holes.

SI: If it was this wet at Riviera, which is on high ground, what's the outlook for this week at La Costa, which is in a ravine at sea level?

MR: La Costa has to be wet. I can't imagine it's not under water.

SI: What are the best fairways to fish at La Costa?

MR: The 16th is usually a huge lake. That would be my play.

SI: What kind of rain gear do you wear?

MR: I have L.L. Bean Gore-Tex mountain hiking boots. They're fantastic in bad weather. I also have an L.L. Bean parka--the other guys call it the Big Coat. You can wear it with short sleeves underneath and still be warm.

SI: I thought the Tour was supposed to follow the sun.

MR: We're supposed to, but I'm at the course at six in the morning, before the sun comes up. I need that coat. I might be a sissy, but I'm not a cold sissy.

SI: How about starting the Tour after the Super Bowl? Begin in Hawaii, go to Florida and then go to the West Coast after the Masters?

MR: That would be fine with me, but you'd have to clear it with the powers that be. I'd love to see Riviera play firm and fast one time, the way it's supposed to play. Nick Faldo says you take all the subtleties out of the course when it's wet.

SI: Which has been a bigger factor on the West Coast swing: El Ni√±o the weather pattern or El Ni√±o the golfer, a.k.a. Sergio García?

MR: So far it's been the weather pattern. I wish it were Sergio. We'd all be happier.

--Gary Van Sickle

SI: HOW HARD WAS A WEEK LIKE THE LAST ONE?

MR: THE FUN PART IS, I GET TO GO TO LA COSTA AND DO IT AGAIN THIS WEEK. THE WEATHER REPORT DOESN'T SOUND GOOD THERE, EITHER.

KEY STAT

7.95

Inches of rain that fell on Riviera Country Club from last Thursday through Monday.

COLOR PHOTOROBERT BECKAdam Scott won the truncated Nissan Open on Monday with a par on the first playoff hole. COLOR PHOTOROBERT BECK COLOR PHOTOROBERT BECKMark Russell

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)