Sunday, July 31, 2016

PGA Championship update: a mess of water and rules

 

SPRINGFIELD, N.J.—If you tapped out of Saturday’s coverage of the PGA Championship when the rains rolled in around 2:00 Eastern, good news: you didn’t miss anything more. Storms rolled into northern New Jersey, dumping as much as 10 inches of rain on parts of the course, scuttling Saturday’s play and sending Sunday’s (and possibly Monday’s, and … Tuesday’s?) into disarray. So as you awaken this fine Sunday morning, here’s where things stand.

• Leaders Robert Streb and Jimmy Walker didn’t even tee off for their third round until 7:40 a.m. on Sunday. They, along with the other four pairings who hadn’t reached the first tee when the horn sounded stopping play on Saturday, would have to play 36 holes of golf on Sunday … if the rain held off.

• In an effort to speed up the rotation of play and, in theory, get the tournament done on Sunday, the PGA opted to send out the first golfers in Round 4 just an hour after the last golfers of Round 3 teed off. So Matt Jones and Roberto Castro teed off for their final round at 8:40 a.m., and that means the final round won’t be re-paired (i.e., the leaders will still play with their partner from Round 3, regardless of where everyone is on the leaderboard after three rounds).

• In a further effort to speed up play, the PGA made the extraordinary decision to allow golfers in the fourth round to take “preferred lies” because of the heavy rain that soaked the course—briefly, golfers can now lift, clean, and replace their ball close to its original landing spot because of the mess. That should speed up play, because golfers have a much better idea of what a dry ball will do rather than a wet ball. Of note: this applies only to golfers in their fourth round, so golfers still on their third round (i.e. the leaders) will play the same course under more restrictive rules. Preferred lies, combined with a soft course, generally lead to lower scores, so just imagine the thrill if someone shoots a record low score with these rules in place.

• As for whether play will finish Sunday … don’t bet on it. Odds are very, very good that the 2016 major season will last at least one more day.

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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