Players anxious to begin
KAPALUA – The start-go-stop plan blown down upon the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the Kapalua Plantation Course on Sunday drew “what-can-you-do?” reactions from the golfers trying to deal with it.
It was the third straight day that no official play happened – 37 holes were finished by the 30-player field on Sunday after 89 were played on Friday. Both of those rounds were completely scrubbed, and play never began on Saturday.
The latest schedule calls for 36 holes today and 18 on Tuesday.
The aggregate total for the holes played is 41 over par. Only one player was under par on Sunday – Jason Dufner at minus 1 through five holes.
“I think it’s important to make sure the golf is fair,” said Keegan Bradley. “On the greens sometimes, the ball is not staying still and that’s when it gets a little dicey. You don’t want to see somebody get an unlucky gust and the ball roll off the green or something like that.”
Charlie Beljan teed off on the 354-yard 10th, but did not finish a hole Sunday.
“Off the first tee, I hit two into the garbage and after I lost one and hit another one, I punched out on the fairway from 102 yards and I hit an 8-iron, which I hit 170, 175 yards on a normal day.”
The players had to be particularly conscious of those in front of and behind them.
“The wind was so strong, as Tommy Gainey was getting ready to hit, I pointed at my ball on the green because it was rolling about 20 feet from the pin and it started rolling and getting closer and closer to the hole and that was to my advantage,” Beljan said.
Beljan said the conditions – wind gusts were measured as high as 48 mph Sunday – were simply too much to allow play to continue.
“We’re here at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Maui, beautiful place,” Beljan said. “We all want to play, but unfortunately conditions are not allowing it. You can’t even really make a backswing into the wind because it will knock you over.”
Webb Simpson was the leader at 3 under through seven holes Friday when play was scrubbed amid wind and rain, but he was 1 over through five holes on Sunday when wind alone was the problem.
“They gave it a good shot, but I think more bad things are happening today than the first round,” Simpson said. “So, it’s unfortunate. I mean, it’s sunny now, finally no rain, and we wanted to get out there and at least try it and that’s what we did. I’ve already heard a few stories of balls going over the green.”
Ben Curtis was perhaps the happiest player to find out that the scores would not count Sunday – he opened with a double bogey on 10 and a triple bogey on 11, and his score was the highest of the 22 golfers who finished at least one hole Sunday.
“Both greens in regulation and I’m 5 over par,” he said. “The only thing you can do is laugh. We had to at least try (to play) because you never know.”
The event needs to complete 54 holes to be fully official.
“It’s not like we all want to sit around and watch the sun bake the course and have a good laugh,” Curtis said. “We want to be out here playing and try to get a tournament in and try to get a champion.”
Perhaps Bill Haas summed it up best.
“Golf is not necessarily a fair sport,” Haas said. “You’re battling elements all the time.”
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com