Maui Sports

Fierce Winds Make Plantation Course Unplayable, Again

January 5, 2013, 4:37 PM HST
* Updated January 6, 10:20 AM
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A Kapalua flag blows after Saturday’s play was canceled due to high winds at the Plantation Course. Photo by Petersen/Getty Images.

By Rodney S. Yap

For the second straight day Mother Nature got the best of Kapalua, forcing PGA Tour officials to postpone the opening round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions to Sunday.

PGA Tour officials have decided to roll the dice and hope to get in 36 holes on Sunday, then declare a champion on Monday after 54 holes.

Intense winds on Saturday, gusting over 50 mph made the Plantation Course unplayable — again.

“We had balls rolling all over the green, so we have canceled play for the day,” said PGA Tour Vice President of Rules and Operations Slugger White, who pointed out the moving balls on the 10th, 11th and 13th greens.

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“Went out there this morning about 6:30,” White added. “I dropped a ball on the 10th green, on the back of the green just dropped it and it rolled 20 yards off the front of the green. We did have balls that were going uphill on (No.) 10 a foot and a half.”

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Foul weather wreaked havoc on Friday’s scheduled first round through eight holes when officials decided to play two rounds on Saturday, starting at 7:30 a.m. Hawaii time.

After several announcements that the start of play had been delayed one hour, then two hours, then three, and finally, not at all. That’s when officials cut the event to 54 holes.

The 30-player field will now start — cross your fingers — from the first and 10th tees at 7:10 a.m.

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“Forecast for tomorrow is a little better, 15- to 25-mph with gusts, maybe, to 30,” White said. “A little less moisture, more like pineapple showers than these downpours that we have had.

The extreme conditions over the last 48 hours have tarnished Kapalua’s heavenly persona before a nationwide Golf Channel audience. Lost in Paradise are the postcard conditions normally greeting this elite winner’s-only group of golfers.

In the Tournament of Champions’ 14-year history, the weather has never refused to cooperate. It’s been stubborn before — for a couple of hours — but two days is unprecedented.

To make matters worse, PGA Tour officials are currently negotiating a contract extension with title sponsor Hyundai. The lack of blue skies and sun shining on the Honolua horizon are contributing factors that favor the players who chose to skip the Tour’s annual season opener.

In normal conditions, the Plantation Course is long and hilly, proving to challenge players’ physical stamina. Sunday’s 36-hole play will certainly make for an interesting day as players deal with the par-73 course’s wide fairways, huge greens, and whatever the weather has in store.

Sunday Tee Times – All Times Local
Group Time Players
1 7:10 AM Rickie Fowler Jason Dufner
2 7:10 AM Matt Kuchar Webb Simpson
3 7:20 AM Keegan Bradley John Huh
4 7:20 AM Ian Poulter Jonas Blixt
5 7:30 AM Marc Leishman Ted Potter, Jr.
6 7:30 AM Kyle Stanley Scott Stallings
7 7:40 AM George McNeill Ryan Moore
8 7:40 AM Ben Curtis Mark Wilson
9 7:50 AM Johnson Wagner J.J. Henry
10 7:50 AM Carl Pettersson Scott Piercy
11 8:00 AM Zach Johnson Hunter Mahan
12 8:00 AM Charlie Beljan Tommy Gainey
13 8:10 AM Bill Haas Nick Watney
14 8:10 AM Bubba Watson Dustin Johnson
15 8:20 AM Brandt Snedeker Steve Stricker
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