Stop-and-go Sunday pushes excitement into Monday's finish

September 15, 2013
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Jim Furyk spent Saturday night sleeping on his one-stroke 54-hole lead at the BMW Championship. He'll have to do the same thing again Sunday night.

Given the circumstances, that's just fine with him.

Heavy rains poured down on Conway Farms on Sunday, resulting in two lengthy suspensions, including the final one that halted play for the day at 5 p.m. ET. Furyk and his playing competitor Steve Stricker were among the 11 twosomes that had not yet started their final rounds.

Seeing the wet course conditions -- and with no lift, clean and place rules in effect -- Furyk was glad to spend Sunday staying dry inside, watching some NFL games and not making a single swing.

"Obviously I'm anxious to get out there and play, as is everyone else," Furyk said. "But the good news is no one wants to go out and play in this, and slop it around in bad weather on a golf course where we're playing the ball down and it's probably a little too wet out there. ...

"At this point after sitting around all day, it's probably a positive because it was looking like if I did get out on the golf course, it would have only been for a hole or two -- and it's tough to get real excited about that."

The final round is set to resume at 9 a.m. ET Monday, with Furyk and Stricker, his closest pursuer, scheduled to tee off in the last group at approximately 10:40 a.m. ET (Golf Channel's coverage begins at 10 a.m. ET). The forecast is favorable, so there should be no further delays.

"We've got maybe some scattered lake showers in the morning, but for the most part, we feel pretty good that we might see some sunshine tomorrow," said Slugger White, the PGA TOUR's Vice President for Rules and Operations. "It's going to be better as the day goes on."

That's good news for those at the top of the leaderboard, as Sunday turned into a wasted day.

"It was disappointing because you want to get out there and it's the Playoffs and you've got one more tournament to go," said Brandt Snedeker, who is two shots behind Furyk in solo third place. "You want to get out there and finish it on time.

"But I'll be excited to play tomorrow."

Added Stricker: "I think we got the better end of the deal by not even playing in it. It looked like it was pretty tough conditions for everybody, and cold weather and rain. I didn't have to really go out and get started in it and come back in, all that stuff. So that was good, I guess, in that respect."

Of course, forecasts are not guarantees, which White and the tournament staff, players and fans found out Sunday.

Although a 90 percent chance of rain was in the forecast, officials did not expect the amount of rain, nearly one inch. Play was halted at 11 a.m. ET for 3 hours, 31 minutes, then resumed for 57 minutes before another band of showers made it impossible to go on. After a wait of 92 minutes, officials eventually called it for the day.

"Mother Nature just won't give us a break here as far as shutting this faucet off," White said.

The green on the par-4 third hole was a trouble spot throughout the day, and then the ninth, 10th and 12th holes also suffered casual water late in the afternoon.

The BMW Championship will have the third unscheduled Monday finish of the year. It's also the second consecutive Monday finish of these FedExCup Playoffs; the Deutsche Bank Championship regularly schedules its final round on Labor Day Monday.

Six players did manage to finish their rounds Sunday, including Dustin Johnson, who was projected to fall to 30th in the FedExCup standings after his final-round 1-over 72 left him at 9 over for the tournament in currently in a tie for 63rd.

Johnson will have to wait and see whether anybody knocks him out of the top 30 who will advance to next week's Playoffs Finale, the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.

"Hopefully I make it," Johnson said, "but if I don't, get 'em next time."

Once play resumes, the jockeying for position on both the tournament leaderboard and the FedExCup standings will quickly rev up. Those who can adjust to the conditions the quickest may have an advantage.

"I'm going to have to get a feel for the course early on and see exactly what kind of a plan I can have," said Zach Johnson, who will start in solo fourth at 10 under. Tiger Woods is right behind him in solo fifth at 9 under.

"There's only so much you can do," Johnson added. "... Maybe a little bit more aggressive, but yet you've still got to pay attention to how the golf course is playing. This course can bite you if you get too aggressive.

"It's just one of those things you've got to roll with it and hopefully get the speed of the greens down early."

Furyk, who has not been able to capitalize on his last five 54-hole leads, is looking forward to the challenge. He spent the first three rounds building his lead on a dry and fast course -- including on Friday when he shot a PGA TOUR record-tying 59 -- and now he must likely maintain his lead on a moist, soggy course

"Hopefully the course will dry up nicely," he said. "It's going to be a different golf course tomorrow. It was real firm and fast all week. I expect that won't be the case tomorrow with all the rain we got today."