News & ToursAugust 7, 2019

Tiger Woods, field to begin Northern Trust on empty course as storm damage forces organizers to delay fan entrance Thursday

Lightning Strikes One World Trade Center in New York City
Gary Hershorn/Getty ImagesA lightning bolt strikes One World Trade Center during a thunderstorm in New York City on August 7, 2019 as seen from Hoboken, N.J.

Tiger Woods will be greeted by a surreal sight Thursday morning at the Northern Trust. And we're not referring to the Manhattan skyline.

On Wednesday afternoon a vicious storm rolled through the New York metropolitan area, with a tornado touching down just miles from Liberty National, site of this week's FedEx Cup Playoff event. The course did not receive the brunt of the weather, although it failed to escape unscathed.

Due to heavy rain and winds up to 60 miles per hour, grandstands, hospitality venues, signage, tents and fences were damaged. Andy Vasquez of New Jersey's Bergen Record also captured steel gates on the hoods of several courtesy cars:

PGA Tour and tournament officials confirmed Wednesday night that no one was hurt. However, fans won't be allowed onto Liberty National until 10 a.m. Thursday, as maintenance crews race to repair damage to the course.

The tournament will still begin the first round at its scheduled time of 7:10 a.m., meaning half the field—including Woods, who tees off at 7:43 a.m.—will complete most, if not all, of their front nines without spectators.

“We’re an outdoor sport, so Mother Nature is bound to show up and change our well-laid plans on occasion,” said Julie Tyson, executive director of the Northern Trust. “We look forward to welcoming the world’s best players—and all of the fans who have been waiting for this event all year long—to the kickoff of the FedEx Cup Playoffs tomorrow."

Luckily for players, galleries and tournament officials, the weekend forecast calls for temperatures in the mid-80s with a minimal chance of rain.