May 14 2013
Dicky Pride hits his tee shot on the par-4 18th in 2012. (Carroll/Getty Images)
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM Contributor
Like his colleagues at the PGA TOUR’s previous two stops, Rusty Wilson had plenty of reason to be concerned two weeks ago about what Mother Nature had given him in the days leading up to his event.
Fortunately for the TPC Four Seasons superintendent, the added time was on his side.
“We kind of turned the corner in the last 10 days,” Wilson said during a break from preparations for this week’s HP Byron Nelson Championship. “It’s a heck of a lot better.”
Two weeks of temperatures in the 80s finally kicked the bermudagrass into growing mode, allowing TPC Four Seasons to challenge players with its usual 2 ¼ inches of rough.
As April ended, though, Wilson was still looking at lows dropping into the 30s. “Those little 30-degree days kind of knocked us back for a bit,” Wilson said, “But we came back.”
Hey, it was far better than the cold weather that impacted Quail Hollow's greens or the heavy rain that left crews scrambling to ready TPC Sawgrass at THE PLAYERS Championship.
Though the tournament’s mid-May date negates any need for overseed, this year’s cold spring made it a closer call than usual. Members and hotel guests have been restricted to cart paths since February, and Wilson kept all machinery off the turf during the last cold snap.
“It’s a young plant that’s emerged out of winter,” Wilson said, “So you’ve just got to be real careful.”
Work crews focused on other aspects around the perimeter during the snap, then resumed their normal schedule once temperatures moved back into the 70s.
“We’re positioned very well to have a very successful tournament with no issues,” Wilson said. “The rough has come on strong, so that concern we had two weeks ago is not there anymore. And we’ve still got two days of growth to go.”
Plans called for topping off the rough again at 2 ¼ inches Tuesday afternoon, then letting the PGA TOUR’s agronomy staff make the call on any further mowing. More than likely, it’ll go untouched the rest of the week.
Though storms could hamper Wednesday’s pro-am, the tournament schedule should be set for optimal conditions until the final round. Sunday’s forecast currently calls for a 20 percent chance of rain.