February 20 2013
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
MARANA, Ariz. -- Rain was always in the forecast for Wednesday, 30-degree temperatures were not.
The rain moved in from the west and lasted about 30 minutes. Then the wind then increased and the rain turned to sleet, lashing golfers and fans at eye level. Umbrellas were useless and it took less than 15 minutes for ice to start accumulating on greens. Ian Poulter refused to putt on the bumpy ice-laden surface and called for an official. The horn was blown, halting play, after a brief conference.
Nice shot: Sergio Garcia did not seem to mind the weather. Standing on the tee of the 187-yard 12th hole, he surveyed the situation with a smile. Garcia then knifed a 4-iron into the wind with a draw, flighting the ball low. It landed 10 feet from the cup. Garcia made par to halve the hole then birdied No. 13. He is 2 up in his match with a chance to close out Thongchai Jaidee on the 16th green.
Birdie barrage: Jason Day is 6 up in his match with Zach Johnson through 10 holes and is playing some remarkable golf, considering the conditions. He had four birdies on the front nine, including three straight on Nos. 4, 5 and 6. In perfect conditions that would be great golf, to score that well in the cold, wind and snow is remarkable.
Snowballs: With 64 players and caddies gathered in and around the clubhouse it was bound to happen. Somebody went outside and launched a carefully crafted snowball toward an open door leading to the player’s lounge. The onslaught had begun. Nobody was able to time their toss to penetrate the opening and closing door, but snowballs pelted the unsuspecting person who ventured outside. Rickie Fowler was coaxed into a demonstration with the Golf Channel. Wearing huge waterproof mittens, Fowler would construct a snowball then hurl it toward a producer. Fowler explained the mittens prevented a normal throwing motion, so he resorted to a stiff-armed release. He was surprisingly accurate.
Clubhouse: The player’s lounge has a nice flatscreen TV, several lounge chairs and a fireplace. It made for a very cozy scene. While snow piled up outside, Padraig Harrington put on a pair of reading glasses and looked very content in a leather chair, sitting next to the fire, while he sent text messages and read e-mail. Garcia arranged for the TV to be tuned to a soccer match between teams from Germany and Turkey then asked Mark Russell, Vice President of Rules and Competition for the PGA TOUR, if it would be ok to use an orange golf ball when play resumed.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.