Want to see what it takes to stop a PGA Tour tournament in its tracks? Check out this Instragram photo of Scott Stallings from the PGA Tour.
You had to see that to understand why the first round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions was cancelled, as in, “The entire first round has been wiped out and we’ll start all over again on Saturday.” The lead group of Rickie Fowler and Jason Dufner had played eight holes.
For Webb Simpson who was 3-under through seven holes, that wasn’t such a good deal. For the above mentioned Scott Stallings who was 7-over through four holes, it was a gift from the same heavens that brought the driving rains and 42 mph wind gusts that made it impossible to play.
Actually, it was a gift from the sometimes onerous rules from the USGA and the R&A (Rule 33-2d/1 – Guidelines on Whether to Cancel Round):
Generally, a round should be canceled only in a case where it would be grossly unfair not to cancel it. For example, if some competitors begin a round under extremely adverse weather conditions, conditions subsequently worsen and further play that day is impossible, it would be unfair to the competitors who started not to cancel the round.
The good news is that there is little chance of rain on Saturday. The bad news is that the wind forecast is for 25 to 35 mph winds. If that materializes, it may be an unplayable day Saturday too. Absent the rain, it will depend on whether the balls will remain at rest on the greens. According to Slugger White, the lead Tour official on site, the Tour’s target green speed was 10 due to the slope of the greens. They came in at 9. So that will help. But he also said there are about four greens he could think of that didn’t have level places to put a pin.
What did Webb Simpson have to say about his fate on the day?
It stinks for me. I got off to a great start but that’s the way it goes. I’m sure they made the decision that’s best for all the guys.
But the good news is, had a good start and playing well.
But how in the world did he ever shoot 3-under?
Honestly we timed a couple of the rains at the right time. 5, the par5, at one point I was going to lay up and then the rain stopped and I hit through it on the green.
So a couple fortunate breaks in that regard. But you know, we are just trying to keep the ball in play and in front of us and I was able to make a couple of putts and that’s what you have to do on a day like today.
And that’s what he’ll have to do on a day like tomorrow too it seems. Since he seems to be properly adjusted to the vagaries of fate, good and bad, he sounds like he’ll be fine.
There were a couple of very good exchanges between him and his caddie on Friday. One of the best was when he decided to go for the par-5 5th. They were intently looking up at the green all the while taking in the wind and rain squalls. They had pretty much decided to go for it — he had a fairway wood in his hand — but he still had that last little scintilla of the decision to make.
“You can’t hit that too long,” his caddie said. Clunk. With those simple last words, the decision was made and he smoked it onto the green. Love those big fuzzy microphones.
That’s the kind of focus and intensity that everyone will have to bring to the day. When you focus that intently, trouble fades to the periphery and target becomes primary.
It will be a long day for the boys. They’ll be going off split tees (1 and 10) at 7:30 local and hoping to get 36 holes in. Fingers crossed.