News & ToursMay 30, 2008

Mackey Arena: The place to be for a tornado warning

WEST LAFAYETTE, IND.--I thought the 95-degree to 50-degree drop in temperatures (combined with the 35 mile-per-hour winds) last week in Albuquerque was going to be my weird weather encounter during my coverage of the women's and men's NCAA Championships. Well, I was wrong.

I've just spent roughly two hours in the basement of Mackey Arena, where Purdue's basketball teams compete, waiting out a tornado warning that caused the men's NCAA Division I golf committee to evacuate the Kampen Course in the middle of the third round of the 111th NCAA Championship and call play for the day.

According to local TV stations, two tornadoes were spotted nine miles northeast of Lafayette, making the decision to get everyone off the golf course and into the gym a great call.

Sounds like the course wasn't in too bad a shape except for receiving heavy rains for a few hours. The plan is to resume the third round tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. The most anyone has is nine holes, so it shouldn't take more than 2 1/2 hours to complete. They'll then make the cut to 15 teams and begin the fourth round. at 11 a.m., depending on whether a playoff is necessary to determine the advancing teams.

Tomorrow's weather is forecasted to be sunny and in the 80 degrees.

Inside the basement of the concrete structure, players entertained themselves by setting up a make-shift bowling alley with empty soda and water bottles. When officials noted that the course didn't seem to have any problems with downed trees and the like, one player jokingly noted: "If the rough got taken out a little, that wouldn't be the worst thing in the world."

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