PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Despite the looming threat of a weather suspension, players got in four hours of work Friday before conditions at TPC Sawgrass became unplayable.
This Players Championship has turned into a long, wet slog.
The horn sounded again at 11:15 a.m. ET Friday to signal another suspension of play, a second timeout this week after the PGA Tour had gone the first two months of the new year without a single stoppage.
Two days into this event, first-round play is still underway, with the lead remaining at 6 under par. Tommy Fleetwood and Tom Hoge posted matching 66s late Thursday, and they were joined at that number in the morning by Brice Garnett, who was 6 under through 13 holes when the horn sounded.
Only 24 players among the late starters had finished their opening rounds, leaving 48 still on the waterlogged course that has already received 2 ½ inches of rain.
Kevin Kisner (68) has the best clubhouse score among those who finished their round Friday.
“I’d rather play now than tomorrow when it’s blowing 30 [mph],” Kisner said. “That’s what I’m hoping for.”
For the past few days officials had been bracing for an “active” Friday weather pattern, with the forecast calling for storms to race across the state during the afternoon. Tour meteorologist Wade Stettner said the weather models for Saturday don’t look much more promising – strong storms in the morning (with the potential for 60-mph gusts), followed by plunging temperatures and sustained winds of 25 mph in the afternoon.
Full-field scores from The Players Championship
PGA Tour chief referee Gary Young said there is a “window of opportunity” to squeeze in more golf on Friday, but that any subsequent delays increase the likelihood of the first Monday finish at The Players since 2005.
“We are coming close to that point now,” Young said.
First-round play resumed at 7:15 a.m., and players carried on for four hours despite a steady rain that ranged from annoying to soaking. Water had begun pooling in the fairways and on the greens, and with heavier storms on the way, officials decided to call play.
“We knew it was just a point where we were going to be battling too hard to keep up,” Young said. “The golf course has reached a point where it’s unplayable.”
Young said that, for now, players would remain at the course to ride out the delay. The next update from the Tour was scheduled for 1 p.m.