NORMAN — PGA Tour’s season opener delayed again
By Doug Ferguson
AP Golf Writer
KAPALUA, Hawaii — For those who think the PGA Tour season never ends, here’s a new twist: This one can’t get started.
The season-opening Tournament of Champions was postponed for the second straight day because of gusts that topped 40 mph and made it impossible to play golf. Unlike the previous day when 24 players managed to tee off, no one hit a shot Saturday on the Plantation Course at Kapalua.
“We tried as best we could,” said Slugger White, the tour’s vice president of rules and competition. Play was delayed three times before it was called for the day.
The season now starts today — that’s when most tournaments end — with hopes of playing 36 holes, followed by an 18-hole finish Monday.
It will be the first time the Tournament of Champions is reduced to 54 holes since 1997, when Tiger Woods hit a 7-iron to a foot to beat Tom Lehman in a playoff when a par 3 at La Costa was the only hole that could be used because of so much rain.
Players arrived in darkness and never got farther than the practice range. The wind has been relentless for two days, and it was clear early on there would be trouble. The back nine of the Plantation Course is higher up the mountain and more exposed. White and the rules officials found that golf balls kept moving on the 10th, 11th and 13th holes.
“On the 10th hole, we dropped a ball on the back of the green and it rolled 20 yards off the front,” White said.
He said the wind caused another ball to roll uphill.
The forecast is slightly better for Sunday and Monday, with strong wind in the morning gradually abating through the day. Even so, the Plantation Course is a long walk with severe changes in elevation, which figures to be brutal on the caddies. White said they were considering offering more shuttle rides on portions of the course to help.