PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico – The PGA Tour’s decision for an abrupt restart to the final round of the OHL Classic at Mayakoba did not sit well with Shawn Stefani.
Tour officials planned to resume play at 8 a.m. Monday, but instead blew the horn at 7:55 a.m. The resumption was short-lived, as play was again suspended two minutes later – before players had expected to even begin – and did not resume again until 8:13 a.m.
Stefani was one of 27 players still to complete his round, and he was facing a tee shot at the par-3 15th hole, which borders the Caribbean Sea and featured a stiff cross-breeze.
“Obviously we’re out there and it’s about to start pouring rain. It’s already blowing 40 (miles per hour),” Stefani said. “And then they decide to blow the horn five minutes early. Well, blowing the horn five minutes early in my book is not very nice to the players, especially to me when I’m out at the most exposed part of the golf course.”
When play resumed again, Stefani asked to be allowed to re-play his tee shot on No. 15, a request that PGA Tour officials denied. He went on to bogey the hole and finished T-25 after a final-round 73.
“They said 8 a.m. restart. Well, they blew the horn at 7:55 which means I’ve got to hit my shot,” he said. “I could have chosen to not hit the shot, but then what do they do? Do they give me a penalty for not playing? Do they put me on the clock? So I hit my shot when it’s pouring rain and blowing sideways. I thought it was very unfair.”
The decision for the brief re-start amid blustery conditions further frustrated Stefani because of a situation that played out Sunday night. Under Tour rules, when play is suspended because of darkness, players have only the option to complete play on a hole they had already begun when the horn blew.
But according to multiple sources, some players were allowed to play an additional hole in the waning daylight Sunday at El Camaleon.
“I’ve got a problem if they’re making exceptions for guys like that, then they have a bad call like they do on 15,” Stefani said. “I just don’t think that’s respectful, I don’t think that’s right of the Tour. I understand they’re doing their best to try to get this tournament in, but I don’t appreciate it. It’s just sad.”