PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA (AP) — Mother Nature has continued to wreak havoc on the PGA Tour’s flagship event. The Players Championship will now conclude on Monday, with a Tuesday conclusion not being ruled out.
With the first round still unfinished, play was delayed at 11:15 a.m. ET on Friday owing to unplayable conditions at the Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.
The Tour announced that play would be suspended for the day at 3 p.m. ET, with no resumption of play until 11 a.m. ET on Saturday.
There are still 47 participants who haven’t completed their first rounds.
“The golf course has reached a threshold of saturation, and regrettably the weather conditions are not providing us with any relief,” Gary Young, the PGA Tour’s vice president of rules, competition, and administration, stated. “The rules committee will arrive first thing in the morning tomorrow.” We’ll discuss the weather situation with Wade Stettner, our meteorologist, and then we’ll have a better sense of what’s going on with the severe weather system that’s expected to hit the area between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. tomorrow.
“There are tremendous winds and lightning linked with it, and we don’t want people on the land before that.”
In the last 36-48 hours, the course has gotten roughly three inches of rain, according to Young. It was still raining heavily when he spoke with the media at 3:30 p.m. ET. The team faced difficult conditions, including puddles on greens that required squeegees, but it was a losing struggle.
The weather outlook for Saturday is iffy, with heavy winds posing a threat, wreaking havoc and causing more damage throughout the course. Winds of up to 60 miles per hour are possible.
“In an ideal scenario, if everything goes as planned, we’d have enough time to complete our cumulative three-hole playoff,” Young explained. “That’ll be around 6:30 p.m.,” says the narrator (on Monday).
“But, again, there are a lot of elements that need to come together prior to that.”
According to the Tour, 1.3 inches of rain fell Wednesday night, putting preferred lies into play and pushing Thursday’s tee times back an hour. During a four-hour, 14-minute pause of play due to further severe weather in the vicinity, another.45 inch of rain fell. At 6:36 p.m. ET, play was suspended due to darkness, with the bulk of the field unable to finish.
According to Young, tournament officials would not accelerate play in order to complete on Monday.
“We’re not trying to push anyone and will continue to play as if we’re in a race to get there.” We’re still building in three-hour intervals between the two waves, ensuring that everything turns on schedule and is properly spaced. “We have a play-at-your-own-pace policy,” he explained. “All of our calculations are based on projected weather conditions, and we believe that we have favorable conditions.” Despite the fact that it will be windy, we believe the next two days will be rain-free following this morning’s weather event.
“Once that front passes through, we’ll know we’ll have beautiful weather, so we’ll just plan it like a round of golf.”
In its 48-year history, The Players has had seven Monday finishes, the most recent in 2005. (also: 2001, 2000, 1983, 1981, 1976, 1974). “The potential is there, but let’s hope not,” Young said when asked if the event may go into Tuesday, as it did at the 2013 Sentry Tournament of Champions and the 2006 Booz Allen Classic. I believe that based on what we’ve seen so far, we’re pretty sure that we’ll be able to finish this tournament by Monday.”
The Players never finished on a Monday from 2007 to 2018, when it was held in May, before returning to its original March schedule in 2019.
“Highly, highly unusual to have this pattern for this protracted duration this time of year, looking back at the historical data on it,” Young said when asked if the inclement weather is bad luck or a warning that March circumstances are unfavorable for hosting the championship. At this point, I’d say it’s just terrible luck.”