Rain pushes The Players into the weekend; Monday finish a certainty

Heavy rains end play for second straight day

Heavy rains end play for second straight day

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Two days of bad weather and a miserable forecast for the rest of Friday has forced the postponement of The Players Championship, with a Monday finish now a certainty.

A four-hour weather delay Thursday led to a truncated opening round. And Friday’s weather was even worse, with play getting suspended at 11:15 a.m. and the tournament unable to restart again because of steady rain and standing water across the Stadium Course. Play was suspended at 3 p.m. and will not resume before noon Saturday.

PGA TOUR chief referee Gary Young said that the tournament is planning for a Monday finish. Young said that he feels confident that the event can wrap up even if The Players went into a three-hole playoff. The course has absorbed roughly 3 inches of rain over the last two days.

“We are very confident at this point — we’re into a Monday finish,” Young said. “We know that. If our calculations on everything hold together and we’re able to start tomorrow, we certainly expect to be finished with the championship on Monday.”

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Rain was steady throughout the early part of Thursday’s first round. It cleared up for a 3:15 p.m. restart and a good portion of golfers were able to get a chunk of their first round in. Weather is expected to be an issue throughout the rest of the tournament, including a cold front forecasted for Sunday’s final round.

Despite fickle Florida weather, there hasn’t been a Monday finish at The Players since 2005. Fred Funk won that tournament, which was blasted by downpours and 35-mph winds. Funk played 32 holes on Monday and hit a five-foot par putt to win it. Had he missed that putt, the tournament would have gone to a playoff and finished Tuesday.

On Thursday, the storms caused a four-hour delay, having only 66 players finish the opening round. Twelve players didn’t even hit their first tee shots.

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There was more than an inch of rain Thursday before the first player even set foot on the course.

The first round was delayed by an hour and after a short break, it started to pour again forcing fans like Kent Ralson to take shelter.

“Like an outdoor event, any kind of outdoor event that’s what you can expect,” Ralson says. “You just gotta live with it, but I do feel sorry for the people who live here or work here and are trying to make money raise money for charity.”

Some fans didn’t mind the rain though, especially those who traveled a long way to be here.

“Well, I came from 6 inches of snow, so this is great,” said Rhode Island resident Ken Brown. “I’ll take the rain any day. Just being here is incredible.”

Maureen Crouch is on vacation in Florida from her home in Colorado. Like Brown, she came to the Sunshine State after leaving quite a bit of cold weather behind.

“We left a foot of snow at our house when we were traveling to Denver to fly here so we were hoping for sunshine and Florida weather,” she said. “It’s a nice drizzle. It’s warm, so it’s OK.”

Tallahassee resident Gray Swoope said that he’s used to these rainy Florida days. He just finds alternative plans.

“Probably going to find somewhere to get a beer and chill,” he said.

Bad weather isn’t good news for the business side of the tournament though. Two years ago, the pandemic caused the final three rounds of The Players to be canceled. Bad weather this year forces the more than 20 restaurant vendors to lose money.

RELATED: Bad weather, bad business: Rain puts damper on revenue at The Players

“It’s part of the equation though,” Homespun Kitchen owner Aaron Levine said. “We know that coming in here. You don’t sign up for something like this and think that you’re not gonna do that. It’s like OK, there are unknown variables. You come out here and you do it.”

About the Authors:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.