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June 30 2012

10:30 PM

Quiet please: Players react to no fans

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Fans weren't allowed at Congressional on Saturday becasue of damage to the course.

By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM

BETHESDA, Md. -- Jim Furyk couldn’t remember the last time he played a round of competitive golf in front of so few people.

“It was just so quiet,” Furyk said. “It was odd.”

Thanks to a powerful storm Friday night that left nearly a half-million residents in the area without power and caused significant damage, spectators and volunteers weren’t allowed at Congressional for the third round of the AT&T National, which was delayed more than 5 hours as crews cleaned up fallen trees and other debris scattered across the course.

The only people on the course when Brian Harman teed off in the first group off Saturday afternoon were a handful of employees, club members and media.

“It was strange,” Harman said.

Beau Hossler, the 17-year-old amateur who made a near-historic run at the U.S. Open earlier this month, on the other hand is used to playing in front of small crowds.

“It kind of felt like a junior tournament,” said Hossler, whose only audience was his mom, stepdad, sister and cousin. “It is nice to have some people to bounce it off if you hit it in the trees, but other than that it was no different. We were lucky to get out there and play.”

Or just lucky to be able to get on the property.

Fallen trees blocked the entrance to Congressional before they were cleared out in the wee hours of Saturday morning as crews worked through the night to get the course playable.

Despite the damage, it was.

It just wasn’t safe, or even passable in some spots, for spectators.

Even players had some difficulty getting to the course, though.

Hossler is staying in a house 3 miles away and said it took more than 45 minutes to get to Congressional.

Harman’s hotel in nearby Tysons Corner still didn’t have power when he left for the golf course.

The only player who did have a sizeable gallery was Tiger Woods. It was small by his standards, however, with a few dozen people watching Woods move up the leaderboard.

The rest of the field enjoyed more quiet.

“It was peaceful,” Furyk said. “But it’s more fun when you get a reaction from the fans.”

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