PGA Tour’s season opener at Kapalua gets mulligan
The 40-mph gusts became too much when Carl Pettersson lagged a 40-foot putt that was slowing around the hole until a gust came up and blew it another 30 feet and just off the green. Hunter Mahan went to address a putt and the ball blew a few feet forward. Ian Poulter said he used his umbrella to shield the wind so he could mark his ball on the green, but when the umbrella moved, so did his golf ball.
“You couldn’t identify the best players out here,” Pettersson said.
The last time a round was washed out on the PGA Tour was at The Players Championship in 2005, when 30 players were on a soggy Sawgrass course. That tournament finished on Monday, and this one is also scheduled for a Monday finish. With only a 30-man field, it should be no problem getting it finished by then.
But 36 holes figures to be brutal on the caddies who walk a Plantation Course built on a mountain.
“I’m not sure how I’m going to feel,” Pettersson said.
Bubba Watson, who had yet to tee off, said it looked like “goofy golf” from what he saw on television. FedEx Cup champion Brandt Snedeker was on the practice range and told of an 8-iron that only went about 50 yards.
“I could have caught it if I ran fast enough,” he said.
Those were the kind of shots that counted on the golf course.
Players were averaging about 350 yards off the tee on the first hole, with the trade wind at their backs. On the third hole, dead into the wind, no one hit a drive longer than 248 yards except for Stallings _ his went 265 yards, only because it hit a cart path and disappeared into the native grass and was never found.
Fowler hit a driver and a 5-iron on the third hole. It’s usually a wedge.
“Numbers were kind of irrelevant at times,” Fowler said, referring to yardages.
That happens all the time in golf, especially on links courses. The problem, however, was on the putting greens. And the back nine is the most exposed to the wind.
Why even start?
“We aren’t really looking for these gusts up to 40 mph,” White said. “We had gusts up to 42 mph. I don’t think you can just not try to play.”
Kuchar was on the eighth tee when play was stopped. He stood over his 4-iron, then back off. He got back into position to play, and then backed off again.