Due to the threat of Hurricane Irene, the first event of the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup will end on Saturday after completion of the third round
EDISON, N.J. -- The PGA TOUR announced Friday that The Barclays, the first of four events in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, will be shortened from a 72-hole event to 54 holes, due to the impending threat of Hurricane Irene, which is forecast to move up the East Coast and into the Tri-State area on Sunday. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a state of emergency on Thursday in advance of Hurricane Irene's arrival, which threatens to cause severe flooding and damage this weekend, and forecasters issued a hurricane warning for much of New Jersey early Friday morning. The Barclays is being held for the first time at Plainfield Country Club in Edison, N.J.
"We weighed all the options available to us, and under normal circumstances, we would obviously prefer to complete 72 holes," said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. "That's even more true here at The Barclays, considering that this is such an important event to our players as they look to advance through the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup. But these aren't normal circumstances. We realize that 'waiting it out' until Hurricane Irene passes and trying to play golf on Monday or Tuesday would only add unnecessary strain to those who will be trying to help the community recover from whatever potential damage this storm causes. The safety of the community, our fans, players, sponsor guests, television partners and staff is of the utmost importance."
"We're certainly disappointed that the weather will cut short what was on track to be a record-setting event for us," said The Barclays Executive Director Peter Mele. "The response from the Edison community and leadership of Plainfield Country Club has been incredible, ever since we announced The Barclays would be coming here in 2011. So many people have worked so hard to set us up for an incredible tournament, but now is the time to keep them and their families' safety in mind. And while we won't play on Sunday, I have no doubt we'll crown a worthy champion tomorrow after an exciting 'final' round."
Those who have purchased Sunday tickets to The Barclays 2011 will be contacted by tournament officials and given good-any-day tickets to The Barclays 2012 at The Black Course at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, N.Y., in exchange.
This marks the first time in the brief history of the FedExCup that an event has been shortened to 54 holes and the first 54-hole event since the 2009 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. At that tournament, Dustin Johnson was declared the winner after heavy rains on Sunday and into Monday morning deemed the course unplayable. Johnson held a four-stroke lead over Mike Weir at the conclusion of the third round that year. The 54-hole finish will be the second at The Barclays. In 1998, J.P. Hayes birdied the first playoff hole at Westchester Country Club to defeat Jim Furyk in the weather-shortened event.
The Barclays defending champion Matt Kuchar (64, -8) held a one-stroke lead over Harrison Frazar and William McGirt after completion of the first round this morning. The second round is currently underway, with Kuchar and Dustin Johnson at 12-under-par through 12 holes (as of 12 p.m.). The Barclays field featured 125 players from the FedExCup standings, and only the top 100 in the standings following the completion of The Barclays tomorrow will advance to the next event of the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, the Deutsche Bank Championship outside of Boston.
Slugger White, the TOUR's vice president of rules and competition, said that tee times for Saturday's third round will be moved up, with players starting their rounds between 7 a.m.-9 a.m. ET, going off two tees in threesomes.
This week represents the 26th 54-hole event on the PGA TOUR since 1990.
A look at the last five 54-hole events on the PGA TOUR: • 2011 The Barclays (winner to be determined) • 2009 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am (Dustin Johnson) • 2005 BellSouth Classic (Phil Mickelson) • 2002 Southern Farm Bureau Classic (Luke Donald) • 2000 BellSouth Classic (Phil Mickelson)