KAPALUA, Hawaii – Just when we thought the 2013 season was officially under way, we say aloha to Friday's first-round play.
Because of severe wind gusts in excess of 40 mph, the first round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions was scrapped, and Round 1 will restart Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m. local time with players teeing off the first and 10th tees in an effort to get 36 holes in. Even that looks to be a stretch.
"I can honestly say (Saturday's) forecast isn't real good, but maybe we'll get lucky," vice president of rules and competition for the PGA Tour Slugger White said.
Play was first suspended for seven minutes at 12:27 p.m. due to high wind. Another delay due to wind came at 12:46 p.m., with a subsequent announcement that Friday’s play was cancelled. At the time, six players had yet to tee off including defending champion Steve Stricker. Webb Simpson was 3 under through seven holes and held a two-shot lead.
"It stinks for me," Simpson said. "I got off to a great start but that's the way it goes. I'm sure they made the decision that's best for all the guys."
When asked if he had approached Simpson to let him know the round had been scrapped, White deadpanned, "We don't go to individual players ... we are going to what makes sense in this situation."
Meanwhile, Scott Stallings was seven over through his first four holes at The Plantation Course and the recipient of a little more good fortune.
“Obviously I benefited from it the most," Stallings said. "But you know, to try to get everyone on as level a playing field as we can. Gotta give everyone their best opportunity.”
Rickie Fowler and Jason Dufner were first off Friday morning and completed seven holes before being carted off the course. Fowler was 3 over and said he hit a "good drive" on the 380 yard par-4 third hole and it only went 215 yards.
"It was pretty brutal out there," Fowler said. "We didn't say anything, we were just toughing it out. ... I think it's the smart decision with what they did. I think Webb's the only one who was upset with the start that he was off to."
The last time the PGA Tour declared "play null and void" and restarted a round was the second round of the 2005 Players.
The forecast for Saturday is similar to Friday – winds 25-35 mph with higher gusts and a 60 percent chance of showers.
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