PGA Tour: Windy Conditions Continue At Tournament Of Champions

By Les Bailey
Ben Curtis
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports


The PGA season opener, the Hyundai Tournament of Champions is starting to resemble the old Bill Murray movie, Ground Hog Day. Tell me if you’ve already seen this part, Ricki Fowler and Jason Dufner tee off. Matt Kuchar and Webb Simpson tee off. Jonas Blixt and Keegan Bradley tee off.  Conditions deteriorate as Matt Kuchar chases his hat down the fairway. PGA Rules and Competition Vice President Slugger White deems conditions unplayable, and cancels the round. The Golf Channel eventually re-plays what ever action was taped.

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t seen Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, or defending champion Steve Stricker tee off all week. They are at the bottom of the draw. and have been able to sit in the clubhouse, and watch everyone else have all the fun.

The game plan for Sunday was to start teeing off on the 7400 yard Royal Plantation Golf Course at 7:00 AM. They would get players off the front and back simultaneously, reduce the tournament to 54 holes, and  finish with 18 holes on Monday, sending everyone home happy. The grounds crews would not mow the greens, giving the ball hit to a green a realistic chance of staying where it was. The weather at Kapalua, on Maui would again have the last word.

The 7:00AM conditions were still too blustery to play golf. Winds were peaking 45-50 miles per hour, they would have to delay the start, and re-check conditions. At 10:30, the wind seemed to lay down enough to get the tournament underway. Players who teed off on the back nine were in the jaws of the tiger with the 11th hole being the most exposed.

Ben Curtis, after a double bogey at the tenth hole, hit his approach on eleven to around 20 feet, and after cleaning and re-spotting his ball, watched it start to roll. It wouldn’t stop until he was 15 feet off the back of the green. He chipped up and four putted for a triple bogey seven. After two holes, he was five over par.

Scott Stallings made a pretty good putt which stopped a foot from the hole for a par, and as he was concerned for his competitors line. his ball began to roll, and by the time it stopped, he was looking at a 12 foot putt to save par, that he didn’t make. Matt Kuchar had his ball blow completely off the tee, it didn’t just drop off the tee, it blew a couple of feet. Dude needs to get some sun on his head, he definitely has a tan line on his head.

After watching more video of  hats being blown down the fairways, than actual golf shots, it was time to send everyone back to their hotels, and my attention to the NFL Playoff games. The Monday game plan looks to be the same as Sunday. Tee everyone off on the front and back with the hopes of getting 36 holes in, and finish on Tuesday with 18 holes.

This shouldn’t be too much of a problem for golfers, as next weeks tournament is at Waialae on Oahu. It’s just a short flight to Honolulu, and those who are not playing at the Sony Open will have to work an extra day prior to going home.

So like Bill Murray, the PGA will have to restart each day with a blank score card, and hope at some point they get it right, so everyone, including golf fans, can move on with their lives.

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