Just saw this from the PGA Tour. It’s good planning.
Barclays shortened to 54-hole event
EDISON, N.J. – The PGA TOUR announced Friday that The Barclays, the first of four events in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, will be shortened from a 72-hole event to 54 holes, due to the impending threat of Hurricane Irene, which is forecast to move up the East Coast and into the Tri-State area on Sunday.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a state of emergency on Thursday in advance of Hurricane Irene’s arrival, which threatens to cause severe flooding and damage this weekend, and forecasters issued a hurricane warning for much of New Jersey early Friday morning.
The Barclays, being held for the first time at Plainfield Country Club, is now scheduled to end on Saturday prior to the onset of bad weather.
“We weighed all the options available to us, and under normal circumstances, we would obviously prefer to complete 72 holes,” PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem said. “That’s even more true here at The Barclays, considering that this is such an important event to our players as they look to advance through the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup. But these aren’t normal circumstances.
“We realize that ‘waiting it out’ until Hurricane Irene passes and trying to play golf on Monday or Tuesday would only add unnecessary strain to those who will be trying to help the community recover from whatever potential damage this storm causes. The safety of the community, our fans, players, sponsor guests, television partners and staff is of the utmost importance.”
Slugger White, the TOUR’s vice presidents of rules and competition, said that tee times for Saturday’s third round will be moved up, with players starting their rounds between 7 a.m.-9 a.m. ET, going off two tees in threesomes.
With 30-50 mph winds forecast for Saturday afternoon and a steady rain expected to start at 2 p.m. ET, the possibility exists that not all 18 holes will be completed on Saturday. If that’s the case, then the tournament will revert back to the 36-hole leaderboard.
With tee times moved up, though, officials expect to get all 18 holes of the third round in on Saturday. Should there be a tie after 54 holes, a playoff will be held to determine the winner.
“We do everything we possibly can to get 72 holes by Sunday,” White said. “Unfortunately, Irene is not cooperating.”
As part of the preparations for the bad weather, White said scoreboards will start to be taken Friday afternoon.
“We’re certainly disappointed that the weather will cut short what was on track to be a record-setting event for us,” The Barclays Executive Director Peter Mele said. “The response from the Edison community and leadership of Plainfield Country Club has been incredible, ever since we announced The Barclays would be coming here in 2011.
“So many people have worked so hard to set us up for an incredible tournament, but now is the time to keep them and their families’ safety in mind. And while we won’t play on Sunday, I have no doubt we’ll crown a worthy champion tomorrow after an exciting ‘final’ round.”
Those who have purchased Sunday tickets to The Barclays 2011 will be contacted by tournament officials and given good-any-day tickets to The Barclays 2012 at The Black Course at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, N.Y., in exchange.
This marks the first time in the brief history of the FedExCup that an event has been shortened to 54 holes and the first 54-hole event since the 2009 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. At that tournament, Dustin Johnson was declared the winner after heavy rains on Sunday and into Monday morning deemed the course unplayable. Johnson held a four-stroke lead over Mike Weir at the conclusion of the third round that year.
The 54-hole finish will be the second at The Barclays. In 1998, J.P. Hayes birdied the first playoff hole at Westchester Country Club to defeat Jim Furyk in the weather-shortened event.
The Barclays field featured 125 players from the FedExCup standings, and only the top 100 in the standings following the completion of The Barclays on Saturday will advance to the next event of the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston. That tournament is scheduled to start Friday and end on Labor Day.