HOYLAKE, England – The R&A on Friday night sounded this alarm: “All the professional advice that we are receiving tells us that significant disruption is highly likely.”
Turns out the only disruption was for players who set their alarms for an earlier third-round tee time.
Heavy rain did hit Royal Liverpool – about a half hour after play was completed. Leader Rory McIlroy was drenched when he arrived for his post-round news conference, and he was barely audible with the rain pounding the roof of the media center.
“You don’t want to be stuck out in that,” he said, before adding with a smile: “Well, I definitely wouldn’t want to be stuck out in that.”
The actual competition was largely unaffected, save for the caddies, who lugged around a heavier golf bag with all of the rain jackets stuffed inside. The extra gear was only needed on the range and for about an hour on the course, after the “big” system the meteorologist’s office expected skirted off to the east.
After this botched forecast, it might be another 143 years before the R&A breaks tradition and goes to another two-tee start.
“They’ve had to do what they had to do to try and get it done today, and they’re trying to do what’s best for the tournament,” Darren Clarke said.
“So there can be no blame apportioned at all to the R&A for that. I think obviously it’s easy to say now that it was the wrong decision, looking at the weather we’ve had thus far. But if they have a couple of bolts of lightning in the next couple of hours, it’s going to mess everybody’s day up, isn’t it?”
Instead, players enjoyed overcast skies, pleasant 70-degree temperatures and, most surprising of all, virtually no wind. The forecast called for gusts up to 35 mph.
“Everyone was getting ready for a hurricane,” said Keegan Bradley, who was in the first group off No. 1 Saturday. “It’s actually really nice out right now.”
Said Jim Furyk: “It really was a pretty benign day. The golf course was there for the taking.”
The forecast for Sunday appears to pose no issues either, with a small chance of showers in the afternoon and mostly “sunny spells.”
Exercise caution when reading the weather report, though.
These guys have been wrong before.