|Congressional Country Club had at least 40 trees go down in Friday's storm. (Getty Images)|
The third round of the AT&T National is under way Saturday, but the start was delayed nearly six hours after a violent storms ripped through the area Friday evening. At least 40 trees were downed at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, last year's U.S. Open venue and this week's host to Tiger Woods' annual tournament. The damage was so extensive in and around the course that access to Saturday's round will be limited.
“In the interest of safety for our fans and volunteers, the AT&T National is closed to spectators and volunteers for Saturday,” tournament officials said in a statement (via the Washington Post). “The tournament will honor all Saturday tickets on Sunday's round.”
Mark Russell, the PGA Tour's vice president of rules and competition, called the decision "drastic" but noted that "it's in their best interests. It's a dangerous situation.”
Meanwhile, 250 miles to the west, The Greenbrier, site of next week's PGA Tour event, the Greenbrier Classic, sustained even more damage than Congressional.
"The whole place got hit pretty daggum hard," owner Jim Justice told the West Virginia Gazette. "We've got about 50 200-year old trees that are down across the grounds."
Despite the setback, Justice won't be deterred.
"You can look at this two ways," he said. "You can drop your head and walk around and mope, or you can suck it up and get to work. We are not going to let this beat us. We have the chance to make this into one of our finest moments. Everything will be repaired before tournament. To me, it is just not acceptable that on Monday we not have every single thing the way it was as if this never happened. That can't be a goal. It just has to be a reality."
(Below are photos from the storm damage at Congressional. Click to enlarge.)