Brutal winds delay PGA openerComment on this story
The 2013 PGA Tour got off to a false start on Friday when first-round play at the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii was abandoned because of strong winds.
Following an earlier suspension in play due to adverse conditions at the Kapalua Resort, the players were summoned off the course as winds gusted up to 45 mph (72.4 kph) and balls oscillated on the exposed green at the par-three second.
With no realistic hope of a resumption on Friday, PGA Tour rules official Slugger White announced the interrupted first round would be washed out and that the players would try to complete 36 holes on Saturday with a two-tee start.
“We started in almost unplayable conditions and it just got worse,” White told reporters. “We tried to play and Mother Nature just wouldn't help us. We have decided to scrub this round, wash it out completely. No shots count.
“We are going to start the first round tomorrow morning. I can honestly say the forecast isn't real good but maybe we'll get lucky. That's the hope.”
U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson had been the early leader in Friday's aborted round, moving to three under par after just seven holes in the elite, winners-only event on the Hawaiian island of Maui.
Swede Jonas Blixt was at one under after five holes, a stroke in front of compatriot Carl Pettersson (after one hole) and Americans Kyle Stanley (four), Ryan Moore (three), Johnson Wagner (two) and Scott Piercy (one).
“It stinks for me,” American Simpson said of the abandoned round. “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, I had a good start and I'm playing well. I was able to make a couple of putts and that's what you have to do on a day like today.”
Earlier Simpson described how brutally challenging the wet and windy conditions had been on the hilly, par-73 Plantation Course.
“I feel like I'm in a hurricane ... my umbrella is breaking,” he said.
While Simpson was bitterly disappointed by the decision to wipe out the opening round, compatriot Scott Stallings had every reason to celebrate after battling to seven over par after just four holes.
FedExCup champion Brandt Snedeker, one of six players in the 30-man field who did not tee off in the opening round, had already prepared himself for a daunting afternoon at Kapalua.
“I just striped an eight-iron on the range that went about 50 yards,” Snedeker said. “I probably could have caught it.”
Also among those yet to tee off was veteran American Steve Stricker, who won last year's Hyundai Tournament of Champions by three shots to clinch his 12th PGA Tour title.
Stronger winds and intermittent rain have been forecast for Saturday, though conditions are expected to ease at Kapalua on Sunday and Monday.
Weather permitting, the fresh first round will start at 7:30 a.m. local (1730 GMT) on Saturday. – Reuters