Viking Classic canceled after constant rains flood course

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Puddles and mud line the 18th fairway at Annandale Golf Club.
October 31, 2009
PGA TOUR staff

MADISON, Miss. (AP) -- PGA TOUR officials canceled the weather-stricken Viking Classic on Saturday because of unplayable course conditions.

There will be no makeup date and players will move on to the final event of the season, the Children's Miracle Network Classic on Nov. 12-15 in Orlando, Fla.

Annandale Golf Club received 1.75 inches of rain overnight Friday and Saturday, completely soaking a course that already had areas of standing water and large tracts of mud.

Madison has received more than 20 inches of rain in the last six weeks.

Officials postponed, then canceled play Thursday and Friday mornings after nearly constant rain. There had been hope officials might shorten the tournament to 54 holes and play next week or weekend, but groundskeepers didn't think the course would dry out that quickly.

This is the first time a tournament has been scrapped outright because of weather since the 1996 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, which was canceled due to unplayable conditions. The last rainout came in Houston in 1991, though that tournament was rescheduled.

The Viking Classic was important for a few dozen players who are chasing TOUR cards for the 2010 season. The top 125 on the money list pass through and most of the players hovering around that level were in attendance. They'll have just one chance now to move up.

Rich Beem entered at No. 124 and hoped to have a good tournament to wrap up his spot on the tour. Now he'll be in a sudden-death situation of sorts in two weeks.

"I would be lying to you saying it wasn't nerve wracking to a point," Beem said. "The only thing I can control is how well I play. If I could go home with this week, with a week off now, get practice time in and get ready for Disney, that's all I can control. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to go out to Disney and play well and see if we can't wrap this thing up."

Notes:

Rickie Fowler and Jamie Lovemark, who lost in a playoff to Troy Matteson at last weeks Frys.com Open, can both use the top-10 exemption for the Children's Miracle Network Classic. They both have until Friday to commit to the Children's Miracle Network Classic.

• In 2005, the Viking Classic (then named the Southern Farm Bureau Classic) was moved from October to November due to Hurricane Katrina.

• The Viking Classic has been shortened due to weather nine times since its inception in 1968, including three times since moving to Annandale Golf Club. It was shortened in 1974, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985 and 1989 when held in Hattiesburg, Miss., and 1994, 2002 and this year at Annandale Golf Club.

• The last time a tournament was cancelled and not rescheduled was the 1996 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am (unplayable course conditions).

• The last time a tournament was rained out was the 1991 Independent Insurance Agent Open. It was originally in April and was rescheduled to October, and was eventually won by Fulton Allem.

• Last time a final round was postponed and played later in the season was the 1998 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

• The Madison, Miss., area has received nearly 20 inches of rain over the last six weeks.

• The last time two consecutive rounds were postponed on the PGA TOUR was the first two rounds of the 2005 BellSouth Classic. That event was reduced to 54 holes and completed on Monday with Phil Mickelson winning on the fourth hole of a five-way playoff, defeating Arjun Atwal, Rich Beem, Brandt Jobe and Jose Maria Olazabal. • This represents the 15th event on TOUR this season to experience a suspension or delay of play, most recent being the Turning Stone Resort Championship where play was suspended due to darkness both Thursday and Sunday evenings. Matt Kuchar and Vaughn Taylor completed four holes of a six-hole playoff on Monday morning with Kuchar victorious.