2016 PGA Championship: Tournament Bosses Washed Out Saturday
As we continue Crave’s coverage of Mercedes-Benz and this weekend’s PGA Championship at Baltusrol, look for coverage of gear and golfer-friendly travel spots.
I’ve never seen a sports press conference quite like the one I sat through following the rained out third day of the 2016 PGA Championship. The authorities running the tournament were on trial, and the sports media was judge and jury. It seemed like they’d volunteer for executioner duty, too (if that was an option).
The thunderstorms and monsoon downpours hit Baltusrol around 2 p.m. Saturday and never really let up — forcing officials to suspend play completely for the day around 6 p.m. Play will resume Sunday at 7 a.m. However, none of the top 20 players on the scoreboard managed to tee off Saturday – meaning they have to get three rounds in by Monday (assuming the tournament extends that extra day).
The weather today was not surprise. The forecast called for rain, and the surrounding New Jersey countryside got more than expected — flooding portions of the course and the surrounding communities all the way to Princeton. Still, the PGA of America’s Chief Championships Officer Kerry Haigh and his crew made the call not to make any schedule changes Saturday.
So, after the day was called off, the media settled in for a press conference in front of Haigh and essentially asked him the same question in as many different ways as possible: “Why didn’t you prepare for the rain and change the day’s schedule?” Haigh tried to answer it different ways each time, but none of his efforts satisfied the prosecution.
Why didn’t the tournament start earlier Saturday? Why didn’t it use a two-tee system or even a shotgun start? Why not use threesomes or foursomes instead of duos? Any of those would’ve hustled more players through the third round before the rain hit.
It’s evident Haigh and company hoped for the best and decided they’d deal with the aftermath if things went wrong later in the tournament. The problem is the forecast is just as bad for Sunday, and there’s still no special plans beyond starting very early.
If the weather continues as forecast, this PGA Championship could lose a chunk of another day on Sunday – meaning this tournament could move through its final official day with only two rounds completed.
And, the whole scene should add up to the media being well off Haigh’s Christmas list.