Mother Nature decided to play a role at the much anticipated start to the 2013 PGA season opener on Friday afternoon. Wind squalls that peaked at around 40-45 miles per hour and driving rain forced the cancellation of round one of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, with a re-start scheduled for 7:00 AM Saturday. Weather forecasters are predicting more of the same at the Royal Plantation Golf Course on Maui for Saturday’s action.
It was utter chaos on the golf course, as flags were bent sideways at times, and looked like they were going to snap. The rain was being driven so hard that players were having to turn their back to keep from getting their faces pelted. I’m not sure the conditions were even good enough for duck hunting let alone golf. The only place to be, was in the clubhouse, sipping on a Mai Tai.
The wind was gusting so hard that balls on the greens were moving after being placed, and putts from just off the large greens were running 30 feet past the flag, and often back off the green. Carl Pettersson had to call for an official on the second hole for a ruling on such an incident.
After a suspension of play for the weather to clear, the round was eventually cancelled, and the players were told to leave the course. Late tee times had not yet teed off. The big difference between a cancellation, and a suspension of play, is that a cancellation means everyone’s score is negated, and when play resumes, they start completely over with new score cards.
Vice President of Rules and Competition Slugger White, explained the decision to the press, and indicated that it would be unfair for the players who had endured the weather problems. Because not all of the 30 players had begun play they felt this was the best way to handle the problem. This is the first time in eight years, a tournament has been totally cancelled.
The happiest person on the course when the cancellation was announced was Scott Stallings. The newcomer had gotten to seven over par, and was not having much luck with his round. The most disappointed, was US Open champion, Webb Simpson, who had gotten to -3 under par before play was stopped. He said he would have continued to play, but understood the decision to cancel the round. He will begin Saturday morning with a clean score card like everyone else.
The weather forecast for Saturday is for less rain, but winds are expected to be 20 to 30 mile per hour. If forecasters have missed on the rain prediction, we may have more of the same. They will continue to attempt a completion of 72 holes, but with any delays on Saturday, officials may well have to shorten the tournament at some point.
Who say’s you can’t have a Mulligan in professional golf?
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