Bad weather has tour mulling Pebble scenarios

Golf

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — The PGA Tour is preparing for the possibility of a 54-hole finish at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am due to inclement weather.

With Sunday’s forecast calling for sustained winds in the 35 to 40 mph range, with gusts up to 60 mph, and rainfall up to 3 inches, PGA Tour chief referee Gary Young said his team will assess the course conditions at 5 a.m. local time Sunday morning before letting players know by 5:15 if they will start play at 7:45, as scheduled.

If conditions are deemed unplayable, the next possible check-in would be done at 9:30 a.m., according to Young. If conditions are deemed playable at that time, the earliest potential start time would be “around noon,” he said. If the course is still considered unplayable then, play likely would be suspended for the day.

Fans will not be allowed on the grounds regardless.

“Obviously our regulations say we need to make every effort to play 72 holes, which includes playing on Monday,” Young said. “If we can’t play tomorrow, we would come in first thing on Monday morning, do [the process] again. We would not start play on Monday if we knew we couldn’t finish the round on Monday. So the drop-dead time on that would mean we would have to start play on Monday by 10:15 a.m. at the latest in order to complete play.”

According to Young, a Tuesday finish would only be possible if play resumes on Sunday or Monday and at least half the field finishes fourth-round play by Monday before a suspension of play. If play can’t be resumed by 10:15 a.m. Monday, or at least half the field does not finish in a restart, the second PGA Tour signature event of the season would have to be called.

The tour then would revert to the standings at the 54-hole mark to determine the winner. Wyndham Clark currently leads after Round 3 at 17 under after a course-record 60 on Saturday, while Ludvig Åberg missed an eagle putt on 18 and is one shot back.

“I’m hopeful right now,” Young said of the chances of playing 72 holes. “Obviously if we get upwards of two to three inches [of rain] on the high side right now, then that makes that a little more doubtful … The wind is our biggest concern right now for safety. I think we’ve made pretty good adjustments to green speeds that we could probably keep balls at rest up until about 40 miles per hour. Once we get north of that it’s going to be pretty difficult.”

While the Monday forecast appears better than Sunday, up to 0.4 inches of rain is still expected on a course that’s received plenty of precipitation the last three days. Young said Saturday that several golf balls have been plugged and lost due to conditions already.

“We’re already dealing with a very soggy golf course,” he said. “And at that point we’re making the decision whether or not we think that the standards for professional golf are there. We just want to make sure that on Monday, if we get to that point, that the golf course is such that we are conducting a good quality championship.”

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