Busy Sunday on tap if and when Mother Nature allows play to resumeLA JOLLA, CA - JANUARY 26: An electronic leader board is seen near the 18th fairway during a fog delay before the start of the third round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course on January 26, 2013 in La Jolla, California. (Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)January 26, 2013
LA JOLLA, Calif. -- With any luck, rain will be falling at Torrey Pines on Sunday when the third round of the Farmers Insurance Open resumes. A little wind would be helpful, too.
Sounds like something of a conundrum for a sport that is played outside, doesn't it? Well, after a day like Saturday when play was suspended for 8 hours and 40 minutes due to a layer of fog that would have made London proud, the wet stuff would be an improvement.
"If it's not raining in the morning, we'll stay socked in and still have fog issues to deal with," Stewart Williams, the on-site meteorologist said ominously. "But I'm really hoping that it does start raining, and that will mix the atmosphere some, and that will help lift this fog deck."
Just six players hit golf shots on Saturday after a three-hour delay and half of them actually completed one hole before visibility was reduced to about 10 yards and play suspended. A second attempt to get back on the course later ended before it started when the fog returned in earnest and remained the rest of the day.
So the sprint to the finish begins Sunday at 7 a.m. local time (10 a.m. ET) after a marathon of a day that saw players warm up three or four different times, make repeat visits to the buffet line and amuse themselves hitting trick shots on the range. The field of 87 survivors will play as long as light allows them on Sunday, then return to finish things off Monday morning.
That is, if that pesky pea soup permits.
"We're going to schedule it, and, hopefully, we won't have fog and we can play golf," said Mark Russell, the vice president of rules and competition for the PGA TOUR. "That's all we can do. If Mother Nature doesn't cooperate, we don't have very much control over that. We're going to be out here, ready to play, and see what happens."
Tiger Woods, who didn't even come to Torrey Pines on Saturday, remains in the driver's seat -- in more ways than one. The world No. 2 is a formidable foe anywhere but particularly here at these two stunning courses on the Pacific coast where he's a six-time Farmers Insurance Open champion and has only shot above par three times in 49 trips rounds.
Not to mention, Woods is hitting the ball extremely well. He leads the field in both driving distance and total driving which is a lethal combination on a damp South Course that will be playing longer than its 7,698 yards. He's not going to be undone by the delay, either.
"I have been out here long enough to know that this is a part of the game," Woods said. "I'll be ready to go tomorrow."
None of the seven players closest to Woods have won a PGA TOUR event, either. He has won 74, which ranks second all-time, including three last year. He had to start somewhere, though, way back at the 1996 Las Vegas Invitational when he was 21 years old, and they might as well, too. But it will likely take the best golf of their careers.
"The guy that's winning the golf tournament has won a lot before, so in order to beat him, you're going to have to play some good golf and everybody knows that," said Casey Wittenberg, who is among six players tied at 8 under, three off the lead. "So we'll have to get out there and see what we can do."
Billy Horschel, who said he never came close to warming up on Saturday, trails Woods by two at 9 under. He'll play with him for the first -- and second -- time, too, since the players won't be re-paired for the final round in an attempt to get done as quickly as possible.
"It's a pretty cool thing that's going to happen," the eager 28-year-old said.
Horschel said he's gotten plenty of advice from friends and fellow players about playing with Woods. Jim Furyk texted him and told the Florida grad to make sure and play his own game. Defending champion Brandt Snedeker cautioned not to get caught up in the atmosphere or anything Woods does.
"You're going to have to grind some stuff out," Horschel said. "Don't try to match him or anything that he does. He's going to be making some incredible shots, whether he's 8 over par or 8 under par, it doesn't really matter.
"I think the gist of it comes down to that everyone just said play your own game.”
Sometimes, though, that's easier said than done.