January 5 2013
By: Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
KAPALUA, Hawaii -- There were several concerned caddies, fearful of a 36-hole walk over the hilliest course on the PGA TOUR at they Hyundai Tournament of Champions on Saturday.
Officials listened to those concerns and tried to help. Caddies and players will be offered extra cart rides covering the longest walks from green to tee and up the most severely sloped sections of the course on Sunday.
Unplayable: Slugger White, the PGA TOUR’s vice president of rules and operations, and other TOUR officials knew Saturday play was in jeopardy by 6:30 in the morning. That’s when a group of officials drove out to the 10th green to assess the situation. The putting surface slopes from back to front and when White dropped a golf ball onto the green in the early morning light, it momentarily held position until a gust of wind whipped the ball down the slope. The ball did not stop rolling until it was 20 yards down the fairway. Conditions only worsened as the day progressed.
Practice: In most instances, when play is suspended or canceled on the PGA TOUR, it’s because of a dangerous situation and the practice range is closed. That’s not the case in Kapalua. The range is open and immediately following the cancellation of play on Saturday, players drove to the driving range to get in some practice. Most contestants said they would get in a little work on the range, some time in the gym and then watch football or hit the beach … weather permitting.
Quick start: A 54-hole event may change a player’s strategy. With 36 holes on Sunday, a bad day could eliminate a player’s chance to win. The flip side of that is the golfer who plays well has a chance to separate himself from the field with 36 holes of opportunity on Sunday. Usually, a player is asked to deliver four days of solid play but with a two-day tournament that changes things. Golfers said they might be inclined to take more chances with the shortened event.
Weather watch: TOUR officials outlined their strategy but also admitted that plan is only as good as the weather forecast. Sunday calls for a 50 percent chance of rain with 20 mph winds. Monday is supposed to be dry with winds blowing 18 mph. Of course, weather forecasts can differ and White admitted his plans are also subject to change saying, “Let’s get through Sunday and see where we stand.”
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.