PGA Tour opener delayed again by wind

The flagstick at No. 11 tells the story of another lost day at the Tournament of Champions.
christian petersen/getty images
The flagstick at No. 11 tells the story of another lost day at the Tournament of Champions.

KAPALUA, Hawaii — Another attempt to start the PGA Tour season was blown away Sunday.

Just more than an hour into the opening round of the Tournament of Champions, play was suspended when more 40- m.p.h. gusts came roaring down the Plantation Course at Kapalua and left officials no choice but to wipe out yet another round.

Rickie Fowler will hit the opening tee shot of the 2013 season on Monday — for the third time. Andy Pazder, the tour’s chief of operations, said earlier Sunday that the decisions not to play ‘‘were not hard’’ because the wind was severe. The evidence from one hour of golf was overwhelming.


Matt Kuchar’s golf ball blew off the tee twice before he could even hit his first tee shot. Charlie Beljan played six shots before he reached his first green. Ben Curtis had birdie putts on the first two holes and played them in 5 over par.

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The winners-only tournament was supposed to begin Friday, but the round was scrapped by high wind after no one had played more than eight holes.

‘‘We need to try to put the show on,’’ Ian Poulter said. ‘‘Hyundai spent a lot of money. We want to play. Fans want to see us play. TV wants to see us play. We’re backed into a corner. I don’t think they understand how windy it really is. Now they’ve seen it.’’

It was comical from the start, with Kuchar having to tee it up three times before he could hit.

Jonas Blixt had a 1-foot par putt on the 10th hole and took about two minutes. He had to wait as a cup and someone’s hat blew across the green.


The final blow came at the 12th hole. Scott Stallings had a tap-in and as he approached the ball to take his stance, it blew 8 feet away.

‘‘It’s crazy. That’s the only way to describe it,’’ Curtis said. ‘‘I’ve never hit two greens in regulation at the start and walked away at 5 over. But hey, at least we had to try.’’

And they will try again — 36 holes on Monday, when the forecast is for less wind, followed by an 18-hole finish on Tuesday. That puts a crimp on the next tournament, the Sony Open in Honolulu, which starts on Thursday. Pazder had said the Sony Open would have a limited television production because it’s at least a 16-hour trip by barge to get the equipment over to Oahu.

The original plan Sunday was to play 36 holes and then 18 on Monday for a 54-hole event. But when the players arrived, rules officials checking the conditions on the back nine could barely stand up, so the start was delayed by four hours.