Posted on: March 4, 2012 10:30 am
Edited on: March 4, 2012 1:10 pm

McIlroy, Honda stalled by thunderstorms

By Steve Elling

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- The golf deities seem to be smiling down on Rory McIlroy, who is poised to take over the No. 1 ranking Sunday if he can hang on to the lead and win the Honda Classic.

The weather gods, not so much.

Even with tee times moved up 3½ hours Sunday because of a bad weather forecast, play was delayed for close to two hours because of thunderstorms caused by a fast-moving cold front.

Play was halted after 70 minutes and only 34 players had completed at least one hole. The winds were expected to gust at around 40 mph during the afternoon, which could make the day a dicey proposition for those chasing McIlroy, who started the final round with a two-shot lead. The leaders eventually went off at about 12:20 p.m.

The tees on the infamous Bear Trap holes, Nos. 15-17, after being moved generously up Saturday, are back at full bore for the final round. The two par-3 holes will play 179 and 186 yards, both over water. 

Play was halted at 9:36 a.m. ET, and after a fairly tame week, conditions were already difficult. Of the 34 players on the course, only two of them are under par for the round.

McIlroy, 22, has won twice in the five instances in which he has started the final round with at least a share of the lead in European and PGA tour competition.

Category: Golf
Posted on: August 25, 2011 11:20 am
Edited on: August 25, 2011 5:27 pm

Barclays field facing wet, washout week

EDISON, N.J. -- Players are hunkered down in New Jersey for what could be a long, wet, Woodstock-type week at the first FedEx Cup series event.

Minus the rock and roll, most of the fun, and with about twice the mud.

Thunderstorms blew over Plainfield Country Club during Thursday's first round and caused a suspension of play at 10:29 a.m. ET, with no player having completed more than 13 holes, and with Hurricane Irene expected to reach the region on the weekend, this could get soppy and sloppy in a hurry.

So, now what?

With a dire forecast in mind, players already have asked whether trimming the event to 54 holes is conceivable, an idea that seemingly has more traction among the players than the PGA Tour brass, for some hard-to-fathom reason.

At a Players Advisory Committee meeting on Wednesday night, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem was asked by the group, which effectively serves as the tour's House of Representatives, if paring the tournament to three rounds holes was the best remedy.

Finchem's answer was rather surprising.

"He said he would rather be here until Tuesday," PAC member Ben Crane said shortly after the rain delay horn sounded.

Easy for him to say. He doesn’t have to stay parked in Jersey suburbia twiddling his thumbs while awaiting decent weather and a playable golf course. Odds are decent they'll get neither.

As for the course, Plainfield was saturated and soft when players showed up this week, the result of nine inches of rain in the region over the previous few days.

"This golf course can’t take much more water," Crane said.

Crane said he sensed that players had no objection to shortening the tournament to 54 holes as long as everybody was given fair warning in advance. The tour, on the other hand, has a slavish devotion to completing 72 holes.

"I'd like us to play continuously," Crane said. "Finish your round and head right back out. Just keep playing as long as you can."

A 36-hole finale on Saturday would hardly be a first. Forty years ago, big events such as the U.S. Open routinely played 36 holes on Saturday by design, with no play at all on Sunday.

Finchem seemed set on waiting it out for as long as needed. Five years ago at the rain-saturated, now-defunct Booz Allen event in Washington, D.C., it took until Tuesday morning to complete the tournament.

Category: Golf
Posted on: May 6, 2011 9:42 am

Weather cools in Charlotte, scores to follow?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Let's call it cool and unusual punishment.

For the second day in a row at the Wells Fargo Championship, players off in the morning wave Friday were greeted by unseasonably cold weather and overcast skies, and this time, the clouds are packing some mustard.

The Friday forecast calls for a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms starting at 1 p.m. ET, which is right around when the second wave of play is set to begin.

Over the rest of the day there's a 30 percent chance of rain, though thunderstorms are not predicted and play likely would not be interrupted barring a heavy deluge.


Category: Golf
Posted on: May 5, 2011 9:03 am

Off and running in chilly Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Hopefully, the nine-hole scores will be just a shade lower than the temperatures.

The early weather Thursday morning at the Wells Fargo Championship was even colder than predicted for the first round, with temperatures dropping into the high 30s, setting a record low for this day in the region. By the time the first wave of players were teeing off at the Quail Hollow Club, it was still hovering around 40 degrees, though it was expected to approach 70 by mid-afternon.

Usually, it's beneficial to be among the first players off the tee, but given the unseasonably cold weather, it remainsto be seen whether the advantage of putting on smooth greens is negatedby the cooler weather.

In the second round on Friday, rain is in the early forecast.

Category: Golf
Posted on: March 25, 2011 10:08 am

Levin blows up Bay Hill, but wind doesn't

ORLANDO, Fla. -- After Thursday's carnage, the worst in 25 years at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, normalcy has resumed in the second round.


Blustery winds drove scores to their highest mark since 1986, but conditions were perfect on Friday morning for the second round, when players in the early wave were making birdies in more customary fashion.

The forecast for Friday was a relief after Thursday's 30 mph gusts. Temperatures were projected to be in the mid-80s with only light winds no higher than 12 mph.

Thirteen players failed  to break 80 in the first round, also the most since 1986 for a single day at Bay Hill. The scoring average on day one was 74.73.

Then again, conditions don't seem to matter to Specner Levin.

The overnight Thursday leader, whose 6-under 66 was arguably the best round of the year to date, shot 3-under 33 on his front nine on Friday to take an early six-shot lead. Levin was one of six players to break par while playing in Thursday afternoon's high winds.
Category: Golf
Posted on: March 10, 2011 12:59 pm
Edited on: March 10, 2011 1:05 pm

Doral weather: One hole down, 71 to go

DORAL, Fla. -- Trees toppled, tents flapped, television towers wobbled and chairs were overturned.

Just another flash storm in South Florida.

Play had barely started in the first round of the WGC Cadillac Championship on Thursday when a violent thunderstorm slammed into the Doral Golf Resort & Spa, sending fans and players scurrying for cover and creating the possibility that play won't finish before sundown, short field or not.

The Golf Channel reported that TV towers on at least three holes were damaged or completely knocked down by high winds that zapped the area in a matter of minutes.

With 66 in the field, play had begun a few minutes before the weather horn sounded at 11:45 a.m. ET. Nine players had completed one hole of play and nobody had completed two.

Weather forecasts indicated that it could take 2-3 hours for the storm to blow through and for the course cleanup to be completed.

It's the third time in as many weeks that weather has had a significant impact on play or course conditions. It snowed and hailed on Sunday at the Accenture Match Play Championship, and last week's Honda Classic in nearby Palm Beach Gardens was slammed by such stiff winds, officials didn't mow the greens between the first and second rounds in order to slow them down.

Category: Golf
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