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Johnson: Weather Delays Play in Third Round

April 12, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Well, it has happened again. Another year, another weather delay at Augusta National. Play was suspended at 1:02 p.m. during the third round -- with Brian Bateman and Richard Sterne preparing to hit their opening tee shots and Tiger Woods and Andres Romero in the on-deck circle -- as hard rain fell and loud thunder rumbled above Augusta National.

Now, you can't do anything about poor weather. But you can do something about how you handle it, and with rain in the forecast for today, couldn't the starting times have been moved up a little? The first tee time today was 10:50 a.m., with the final pair of Trevor Immelman and Brandt Snedeker set to go at 2:40 p.m. Play is expected to resume at 1:40, which may or may not allow those two to finish their rounds today. And if they don't, they'll have to come out early Sunday to finish and then wait some five to six hours before going back out for round four. That's not an inconvenience -- it's a competitive disadvantage.

The Masters has not spilled over to Monday since 1983, the end result of a Friday washout. But this is Georgia. In April. From 1998 through 2006 weather  interrupted play at the Masters every year except 2001. If you ask me, it's time to make the smart move and push the tee times up an hour on the weekend.

-- E. Michael Johnson