Organisers act on E coli scare

ERIN • The organisers of the US Open suffered embarrassment on Thursday after it emerged that traces of E coli bacteria were discovered in a public water fountain at Erin Hills.

Nobody reported ill after drinking from the hydration facility during practice days at the second golf Major of the year, and it was shut off on Thursday morning.

In a statement issued on Thursday night, the United States Golf Association (USGA), which presides over the tournament, said: "The Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department notified the USGA that it identified evidence of E coli bacteria from a sample from one hydration station near the 12th hole at Erin Hills golf course.

"The water line to the hydration system was disconnected immediately and bottled water was provided to guests while we waited for the preliminary results to be confirmed by the public health department.

"The safety and security of our guests is of paramount importance to the USGA. Out of an abundance of caution, we will offer all guests complimentary bottled water at all four hydration stations throughout the duration of the championship."

E coli bacteria can cause various forms of illness, most commonly diarrhoea, but the consequences can be even more severe.

The USGA has been subject to widespread criticism, from spectators and players, owing to a range of event issues in recent times.

Kevin Na was among players who are unhappy with the deep rough, while this year's tournament - the first Open at Erin Hills - was not sold out in advance, unusual for an event of its stature.

During Thursday's first round, a commercial blimp above a neighbouring field to Erin Hills - in place for the tournament - caught fire and fell from the sky with the pilot receiving hospital treatment for burns.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 17, 2017, with the headline 'Organisers act on E coli scare'. Print Edition | Subscribe