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PGA Tour’s season opener at Kapalua gets mulligan
Question of the Day
KAPALUA, HAWAII (AP) - A bum deal for Webb Simpson. A big break for Scott Stallings.
And a mulligan for the PGA Tour.
The new golf season was not even two hours old when the wind squalls roaring down the mountains above Maui made conditions too severe to continue Friday in the Tournament of Champions. Because the first group off had only completed eight holes _ six players had not even started _ and the forecast offered no relief from the wind, the first round was wiped out.
Season opener, take two.
Rickie Fowler will return to the first tee Saturday morning, and for the second straight day, officially launch the PGA Tour season. But even that’s in doubt. The plan was to play 36 holes, though the forecast was for wind just as strong.
“I can honestly say the forecast isn’t real good, but maybe we’ll get lucky,” said Slugger White, the tour’s vice president of rules and competition. “That’s the hope.”
Fowler already was 3 over for the day after a 40-mph gust knocked his ball out of the sky on the par-3 eighth and sent it into a gorge, leading to double bogey. Conditions were so tough that only two of the 20 players who had a score on their cards were under par.
One of them was Simpson, who turned in a remarkable performance by keeping it simple and making a few putts. He was 3 under through seven holes, and now starts from scratch when he comes back to the Plantation Course at Kapalua.
“It stinks for me,” Simpson said.
Stallings already was 7 over through four holes. That no longer counts, either.
“Obviously, I was thrilled,” Stallings said. “It was just really bad. I hit bad shots and got bad breaks. I’d like to know how Webb Simpson was 3 under.”
The wind was raging along the west coast of Maui from sunrise, mixed in with clouds and bursts of rain. When the rain stopped, white caps could be seen dancing along the gray ocean below the mountainous course.
The only way players could have claimed to get the short end of the draw would be if the wind had died after play was suspended. Everyone faced the same conditions, except for those who didn’t have to play.
“I got off to a great start, but that’s the way it goes. I’m sure they made the decision that’s best for all the guys,” Simpson said. “But the good news is, I had a good start and I’m playing well. We’re just trying to keep the ball in play and in front of us and I was able to make a couple of putts. And that’s what you have to do on a day like today.”
So much for starting the year in paradise. Kapalua in this kind of weather felt more like work than a working vacation.
By Mark Davis
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