As rain washes out Hope, Monday play looms
Thursday, January 21, 2010
LA QUINTA, Calif. – Playing at the Bob Hope Classic is often likened to playing golf in a dome because the conditions are so ideal.
The roof sprung a leak Thursday, as the second round was postponed because of heavy rain throughout the Coachella Valley.
PGA Tour officials originally pushed back the start of the round by two hours, but with heavy showers falling and more rain expected during the day, play was called at 9:30 a.m. The start of the second round is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Friday.
The area has received more than 2 inches of rain this week. Thursday’s postponement marked the first time in 30 years that a round was postponed or suspended because of rain at the Bob Hope Classic. The opening round in 1980 was canceled due to rain, with play being completed the next day.
The third round in 1978 was suspended after a mudflow made Indian Wells Country Club unplayable, according to Desert Sun golf writer Larry Bohannan, who has covered 24 Hopes and wrote the book “50 Years of Hope” about the tournament.
A Monday finish seems likely this year because of the Hope’s unique format. The tournament is scheduled for 90 holes, so even if 72 holes are completed by Sunday, play will continue Monday.
The tournament cannot be less than 72 holes because four courses are in use.
“We’re required to try to play (Monday),” said PGA Tour rules official Steve Rintoul.
Friday’s forecast calls for showers, but it will only be partly cloudy over the weekend
It will be nearly impossible to complete 90 holes by Sunday because playing more than 18 holes in a day is difficult. Players have to be transported between courses postround, and each round’s tee times do not follow the same order, i.e. the first group off of a tee in Round 2 is not first off in Round 3, etc.
Four courses are in use for the first four rounds, and there is only one pro (and three amateurs) per group.
Getting rid of the amateurs, and pairing players in twosomes or threesomes, is a possibility, but probably unlikely.
“Right now, we’re going to try to keep the teams together as long as possible,” Rintoul said. “A lot of people paid a lot of money (to play).”
The pro-am is a large revenue source for the Hope, which lacks a title sponsor this year.
A tournament will run into Tuesday only if play is halted Monday after half of the field has completed its round. The Tour cannot start a round Monday if it knows in advance that the round cannot be completed that day, Rintoul said.