MIAMI - US Women's Open organizers remained hopeful Wednesday that the weather at Shoal Creek in Alabama would continue to improve even as they made plans to minimize the impact of rain that forced closure of the course on Tuesday.

Downpours from subtropical storm Alberto on Monday night and Tuesday left parts of the course a sloppy mess. John Bodenhamer, the Senior Managing Director of Championships and Governance at the US Golf Association, said Wednesday he had walked the course to assess its playability and talked to players about conditions. He said some of the worst areas can be avoided through course set up and that the greens were in good shape.

"We have folks out on our staff watching play," Bodenhamer said. "We are evaluating the golf course both from a playability standpoint, how we mark ground under repair, how we set up the golf course. "All the tools in our tool kit, as I've said, are at our disposal, and we'll use those and what the rules give us to use."

However, Bodenhamer added that officials still hoped to avoid playing preferred lies, which allows players to lift, clean and place their balls in the fairway to remove mud. "It remains our intention to play 72 holes and to play the ball as it lies," Bodenhamer said. "If we get cooperation from the weather, it will keep getting better every day."

World number three Lexi Thompson said Tuesday that she thought allowing lift, clean and place would be necessary to insure fairness on a course with significant muddy areas in the fairways. "I played it yesterday and it was pretty wet in some spots and some of the fairways are a little bare in some spots," she said. "So, I think it will be a little unfair if they don't, but, you never know." Australian Karrie Webb, a two-time US Women's Open champion who was granted a special exemption to play this year in a 23rd straight edition of the tournament, said she purposely practiced on Monday out of some of the poorer areas of the course, in anticipation that the USGA would decline to implement the lift, clean and place rule.

"Actually a lot of the players that I played with were asking me why I was doing that," she said. "I was like, the USGA has never played it up (preferred lies) at a US Open. I'm mentally preparing for the fact that we might play it down."

While the conditions will surely pile on the stress at a tournament known for tough course set-up, Webb said players might as well embrace whatever test was set. "At the end of the week there will still be someone who is a US Open champion," she said.