PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA (AP) — Despite the potential of a weather delay, competitors put in four hours of practice time on Friday before the course at TPC Sawgrass turned unplayable.
This Players Championship has become a lengthy and drizzly slog.
The horn rang once more at 11:15 a.m. ET on Friday, signaling the second timeout this week after the PGA Tour went the first two months of the year without a single interruption.
The opening round of this event is still going on two days in, and the lead is still at 6 under par. Late Thursday, Tommy Fleetwood and Tom Hoge both shot 66s, and Brice Garnett, who was 6 under through 13 holes when the horn blew, joined them at that number in the morning.
Only 24 of the late starters had completed their first rounds, leaving 48 players on the flooded course, which had already received 12 inches of rain.
Among players who completed their round on Friday, Kevin Kisner (68) has the best clubhouse score.”
Kisner stated, “I’d rather play now than tomorrow when it’s blowing 30 [mph].” “That is exactly what I am hoping for.”
Officials had been preparing for a “active” Friday weather pattern for many days, with storms expected to sweep through the state in the afternoon. The weather predictions for Saturday don’t look much better, according to Tour meteorologist Wade Stettner: severe storms in the morning (with potential for 60 mph gusts), followed by plummeting temperatures and continuous winds of 25 mph in the afternoon.
According to PGA Tour chief referee Gary Young, there is a “window of opportunity” to play extra golf on Friday, but any further delays raise the chances of The Players finishing on Monday for the first time since 2005.
Young stated, “We’re getting close to that point now.”
Despite a constant rain that ranged from unpleasant to pouring, first-round play resumed at 7:15 a.m., and players continued for four hours. Officials opted to call the game because water had begun to pool in the fairways and on the greens, and worse storms were on the way.
“We knew there would be a time where we’d have to fight too hard to keep up,” Young said. “The golf course has deteriorated to the point where it is no longer playable.”
Young stated that players would remain on the course for the time being to wait out the delay. The Tour’s next update was slated for 1 p.m.
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