September 15 2013
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- A rain-saturated Sunday tested everyone’s patience. Some players were affected more than others.
Consider the plight of Rickie Fowler.
He opened the BMW Championship with a 77, going 6 over in his first four holes. Fowler battled back on Friday and was 7 under for the round before a tough finish that included a triple bogey on the 18th, resulting in a 68. He shot a 68 again on Saturday and was 2 under through four holes in the final round, standing on the fifth tee.
The fifth hole is the toughest driving hole at Conway Farms: A 447-yard par 4 with out of bounds left and a lateral hazard on the right.
The rain pelted Fowler in the face as the wind lashed into him. Surely, play would be halted at any moment but it was Fowler’s turn to play and he swung. The ball took a quick turn to the right and rode a gust of wind into the hazard.
Just as the ball disappeared into the woods, the horn sounded halting play.
Golf was never meant to be fair, but at times the game seems randomly cruel.
Bubble boy: Dustin Johnson will anxiously await scores to be posted. He finished at 9 over and his status for the TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola fluctuates on every shot from others in the field. A bogey from one competitor pushes Johnson into the field of 30, while a birdie moves him outside that magic number. Johnson finished with disappointing flair. He tried to reach the par-5, 18th hole with his second shot from 247 yards, only to splash it into the water and make bogey. Johnson said he was not thinking of the TOUR Championship on the approach, he was only trying to post the best score possible and hit the shot heavy.
Professional: I don’t know if there is a more professional player on the PGA TOUR than Lee Westwood. He dresses, plays and comports himself with the highest of standards. The Englishman played with an injured back and played poorly, finishing 12 shots over par. It would have been so easy to withdraw in the final round -- the wet, cold weather made every swing painful with an already injured back, but Westwood honored his commitment to the tournament and fellow competitors. I admire that.
Wet weather: The ball will be played as it lies for the entire final round. PGA TOUR officials considered preferred lies before the round began but the weather forecast was not as dire as what materialized. Mud balls were all over the course but the “casual water” rule provided relief. Virtually every step a player took produced a puddle of water, so the ball could be lifted, cleaned and dropped.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here