News & ToursSeptember 21, 2009

Hit hard by rain, East Lake scrambling to get ready

Flash flooding has shut down schools and closed roads in Atlanta, but the Tour Championship will be played -- at some point this week at waterlogged East Lake GC.

From his office on Monday morning, director of golf Rick Burton reported that 10 inches of rain have fallen on his course over the past week, including 2 inches on Sunday night. With showers in the forecast through Friday, the threat of delays is imminent to the conclusion of the FedEx Cup playoffs.

The good news: the golf course and its greens are holding up under the deluge. As for the possibility of playing under lift, clean and place, that will be a game-time decision made by the PGA Tour field staff, hopefully Thursday morning. The only downside to course preparation is that the ground is so wet, the mowers won't be able to get to the rough, which should be "real juicy," according to Burton, at two-and-a-half inches.

"The golf course is in extremely good condition," Burton said. "The greens are still good. They're firm and fast, actually, because we've been able to mow and roll them. The fairways have done well. We've got a good drainage system. Inside the ropes is very, very good."

Heavy summer rains caused a problem for East Lake and its greens before the 2007 tournaments. The Crenshaw Bent was replaced by Miniverde Bermuda in a course renovation following Tiger Woods' eight-stroke victory. As Burton pointed out, "Tiger was 25 under so he made a few putts."

East Lake was closed Monday. Early arrivals John Senden, Kevin Na and Jason Dufner were told the club's chipping area and putting green were open, if they wanted to work on short game.

The only blessing was the break in the FedEx Cup schedule. If the Tour Championship were scheduled last week, they'd still be playing on Monday -- maybe Tuesday.

--Tim Rosaforte

More from The Loop