Weather issues delay BMW final round to Monday
September 09, 2018
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
Justin Rose leads by one at BMW
NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. – Unrelenting rain and a saturated Aronimink course has pushed back the final round of the BMW Championship to Monday. With the final 30 spots in the FedExCup Playoffs on the line, officials remain intent on completing 72 holes, even if it requires a Tuesday finish.
"We will do everything we can to play tomorrow," said Slugger White, PGA TOUR Vice President of Rules and Competition. "... We'll just see what Mother Nature gives us."
But the possibility also exists that the tournament might be over, with 54-hole leader Justin Rose declared the winner and the current top 30 in projected points moving on to the TOUR Championship.
Depending on how quickly the course can dry up, a window of weather opportunity exists Monday between approximately 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET. Even if the final round isn’t completed Monday, PGA TOUR regulations state that the tournament will extend to Tuesday if at least half the field can finish their rounds on Monday.
“If we get in tomorrow and we get half the round completed, yes, we would be into Tuesday,” White said. “If we don't -- it's really too early to talk about that.”
White did say the final round would not start on Monday if tournament officials don’t think half the field can finish. If that happens, then the tournament would revert to the 54-hole leaderboard for the final results.
The final round is scheduled to start Monday at 7:30 a.m. ET in threesomes off two tees. The lead group of Rose, Rory McIlroy and Xander Schauffele will tee off at 9:20 a.m. Golf Channel will air live coverage starting at 10 a.m. ET. There will be no coverage on PGA TOUR LIVE.
Play on Sunday had been scheduled to start at 7 a.m. ET but by the time White arrived on course at 4:45 a.m., a half-inch of rain already had fallen. Tee times were delayed several times in hopes of starting play. But light morning rains turned heavier in the afternoon, never allowing any opportunity to begin the round.
PGA TOUR meteorologist Joe Halvorson said the total rainfall by 2 p.m. ET when the final announcement was made was one inch. More rain was expected the rest of the day, preventing the course from drying out.
"Overnight, for the rest of the day, we'll still have rains from the system as the warm front is moving north of us," Halvorson said. "Totals, I'm thinking from this point on we've got a half-inch to three-quarters of an inch overnight, but what I'm seeing, as this front lifts north of us during the morning hours tomorrow, I think the showers could become a bit more scattered."
More than 3 inches of rain has hit the area this week due to remnants of Tropical Storm Gordon
“Obviously we’ve got kind of a mess out there,” White said during a mid-day press conference. “As of right now, the golf course is unplayable. … It’s pretty bad.”
White said the greens and bunkers were fine, but that some teeing grounds and fairways were marginal. “The front nine holes are relatively good,” he added. “The back nine is our biggest concern.”
Added White: "Iffy fairways, sloshy tee boxes. ... We just have a golf course that we just couldn't play. ... kind of have shoveling sand against the tide, unfortunately, and that's the sad part."
Even if play is possible on Monday, it will likely end in the early afternoon when thunderstorms are expected to hit the area.
"There is some potential that that thunderstorm threat could potentially hold off a little bit later and clouds in the area and may take a little bit longer to stabilize," Halvorson said. "I wouldn't think 2:00 as our end-all time; there's some potential for that window to be extended a little bit later until the storms develop."
The sense of urgency to play all 72 holes is increased in FedExCup Playoffs events, since the progressive cut after each tournament determines the field for the next event. This week at the BMW Championship, a field of 69 players began the week, with just the top 30 in points moving on to the TOUR Championship and a chance to win the FedExCup.
"You'll see guys that are 30, 31, 32 on that list for two weeks from now that they all want to play in, and we want them to play," White said.
Making the East Lake field also comes with other perks, such as invitations to big events that allow a player to organize his playing schedule.
Those benefits were not lost on Keegan Bradley when he rolled in a 7-foot putt to save par to end his third round Saturday. That kept him projected to 30th in the FedExCup standings after starting the week ranked 52nd. Making the TOUR Championship “is everything to me,” said Bradley, who would be guaranteed the final spot if the final round cannot be played.
If that happens, then 2015 FedExCup champ Jordan Spieth would finish 31st in the points and miss the TOUR Championship for the first time in his TOUR career. He’s obviously hoping the final round can be played so he can jump back inside the top 30 after starting the week ranked 27th.
“I’m dying to get there,” Spieth said.
If the 54-hole leaderboard holds, then Rose would win for the third time this season and take over the No. 2 spot in the FedExCup standings behind Bryson DeChambeau, who won the first two Playoffs events. Rose would also move to world No. 1 for the first time in his career.
“I'll take the two-day washout, of course,” Rose said.