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Barclays field facing wet, washout week

Posted on: August 25, 2011 11:20 am
Edited on: August 25, 2011 5:27 pm

EDISON, N.J. -- Players are hunkered down in New Jersey for what could be a long, wet, Woodstock-type week at the first FedEx Cup series event.

Minus the rock and roll, most of the fun, and with about twice the mud.

Thunderstorms blew over Plainfield Country Club during Thursday's first round and caused a suspension of play at 10:29 a.m. ET, with no player having completed more than 13 holes, and with Hurricane Irene expected to reach the region on the weekend, this could get soppy and sloppy in a hurry.

So, now what?

With a dire forecast in mind, players already have asked whether trimming the event to 54 holes is conceivable, an idea that seemingly has more traction among the players than the PGA Tour brass, for some hard-to-fathom reason.

At a Players Advisory Committee meeting on Wednesday night, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem was asked by the group, which effectively serves as the tour's House of Representatives, if paring the tournament to three rounds holes was the best remedy.

Finchem's answer was rather surprising.

"He said he would rather be here until Tuesday," PAC member Ben Crane said shortly after the rain delay horn sounded.

Easy for him to say. He doesn’t have to stay parked in Jersey suburbia twiddling his thumbs while awaiting decent weather and a playable golf course. Odds are decent they'll get neither.

As for the course, Plainfield was saturated and soft when players showed up this week, the result of nine inches of rain in the region over the previous few days.

"This golf course can’t take much more water," Crane said.

Crane said he sensed that players had no objection to shortening the tournament to 54 holes as long as everybody was given fair warning in advance. The tour, on the other hand, has a slavish devotion to completing 72 holes.

"I'd like us to play continuously," Crane said. "Finish your round and head right back out. Just keep playing as long as you can."

A 36-hole finale on Saturday would hardly be a first. Forty years ago, big events such as the U.S. Open routinely played 36 holes on Saturday by design, with no play at all on Sunday.

Finchem seemed set on waiting it out for as long as needed. Five years ago at the rain-saturated, now-defunct Booz Allen event in Washington, D.C., it took until Tuesday morning to complete the tournament.

Category: Golf
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