A thick fog shrouded the course along the Pacific bluffs on Saturday and essentially wiped out the entire day at the Farmers Insurance Open. Woods, a six-time winner of this tournament, had a two-shot lead and never even bothered coming to the golf course. Three players completed one hole – and that was after a three-hour delay.
Players were to resume the third round this morning and go as long as daylight allowed, and then finish Monday.
And that’s a best-case scenario.
In a bizarre twist, tour officials were hopeful of rain and a little wind this morning, two elements that most golfers dread. That’s what is needed, however, to keep the fog away from Torrey Pines and allow the tournament to resume.
“When Mother Nature doesn’t want you to play, you can’t play,” said Mark Russell, the tour vice president of competition.
They did just about everything else.
Former Clemson standout Lucas Glover warmed up three times, at one point passed the time with a little trickery. He lined up two balls in the direction of the range, and hit them with a wedge so that one ball went straight in the air, and Jerry Kelly took a baseball swing with an inverted club and made contact.
Through four tournaments this year, the PGA Tour already had had its share of weather problems. This will be the second tournament that doesn’t finish on the scheduled day. The Tournament of Champions at Kapalua didn’t even start until Monday, the day it was supposed to end, because of 40 mph gusts. It had to be reduced to 54 holes and was completed on Tuesday.
Woods was at 11-under 133 and didn’t need to come to the course with all the delays because he was in the last group with Billy Horschel and Casey Wittenberg. Horschel spent part of his day getting advice through text messages on how to play with Woods.
He’ll get to see plenty of Woods the next two days.
Russell said there would not be a 54-hole cut for 87 players – typically there is a cut when the field is more than 78 players on Saturday. Instead, they will take a short lunch break and go back out, racing time when fog allows. The groups will stay the same until the tournament is over.
Horschel also is among 17 players who are entered in the qualifier Monday to get into the Phoenix Open, which starts next week. Russell said those players have been given the latest tee times for the qualifier – the latest is 3:36 p.m. EST.
Saturday began with a 30-minute delay that soon stretched into three hours, and the sun broke through the clouds as Hunter Mahan, Robert Garrigus and John Mallinger teed off on the 10th hole at the South Course. Five minutes later, the horn sounded. Because it was for weather, they were able to finish the hole.
Mahan’s caddie took a picture of the 11th tee, a 216-yard par 3, and the visibility was no more than 50 yards.
It never got any better.
EUROPEAN TOUR: In Doha, Qatar, Chris Wood eagled the 18th hole to win the Qatar Masters for his first European Tour victory, overtaking Sergio Garcia and George Coetzee, who finished a shot back.
The 142nd-ranked Englishman hit a shot 200 yards to the green with a 6-iron and watched the ball roll to within 12 feet. Wood calmly sank the putt to finish the final round at 3-under 69 for an overall 18-under 270. Garcia and Coetzee had looked set for at least a two-man playoff after both birdied the last hole.
“Winning on the European Tour is not easy,” said Wood, who earned a victory in his 115th tour event. “It was a nice way to finish. It feels good to pick up the trophy. I’ve been waiting patiently for my turn and fortunately it came today,”
Wood came into the final day with a three-shot lead over former U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell, Simon Khan and Alexander Noren after the third round.
The win moves Wood into the top 60.