Gusting winds blow tournament into Tuesday
By John Strege
KAPALUA, Hawaii -- On two occasions, Matt Kuchar's ball was blown off the tee. Ben Curtis hit greens in regulation on his first two holes and played them in five-over par. Ian Poulter expressed remorse that he hadn't invested in Maui wind farms.
So it is that the Hyundai Tournament of Champions that was supposed to end on Monday is now set to start on Monday as a result of winds, this time gusting to 48 miles per hour.
For the second time in three days, play was suspended in mid-round on the Plantation Course at Kapalua and scores were scrapped on Sunday. The tournament will start over again at 7:10 a.m. Hawaiian time on Monday, with the goal to play 36 holes, followed by an additional 18 on Tuesday.
"We tried, and what happened was expected," Poulter said. "But what can the tournament do? It's all really unfortunate. I understand why they had to try. They had no options. To the outside world everyone sees it's blue skies, we're in Hawaii, why aren't we playing golf? Well, I think we just showcased for the last hour why we shouldn't be on the golf course. It's unplayable. What should we have done? What could we have done? I don't know. This is a complete freak of nature. There's no other way to explain it, and it's just unfortunate for everybody involved."
Andy Pazder, chief of operations for the PGA Tour, said that the players can play if the wind gusts are in the 25 to 30 mile-per-hour range. "We registered gusts up to 48 miles per hour right before we suspended play," he said.
Slugger White, vice president rules and competition for the tour, said, "You just can't play in this. You could hardly walk in it, much less play golf."
White said the forecast for Monday is modestly better. "We've got about a five-mile-an-our decrease in velocity [projected]," he said.
Keegan Bradley, meanwhile, considered the possibility that these were the strongest winds he's ever experienced.
"Maybe at the top of a ski hill a couple times," he said. "This is the worst I've ever seen on a golf course."