HONOLULU – The daily thrill of watching the sun come up has been sidelined here at Waialae Country Club. Instead, thick clouds have left us wondering when the rain will stop.
First-round play in the Sony Open in Hawaii, originally pushed back four hours, has just been called off for the day. Officials are hoping to play the first round Friday, the second round Saturday, then a 36-hole finish Sunday.
A cut will be made nearest to 60 players.
Already saturated by several December storms, Waialae CC has taken on another 3 or 4 inches of rain the past few days. Players did trickle into the locker room in anticipation of a 7:10 a.m. start, only to be told that play would commence at 11:10. But no one thought that was going to happen, given that puddles are everywhere, particularly on the outward holes where several are at sea level.
The postponement of play came one day after the pro-am had been called off for the first time in tournament history. Officials concede they’ll need some help with the weather (rain is in the forecast the rest of today and also Friday) if they are to avoid the first Monday finish in a tournament that debuted in 1965.
As the early-starters gathered in the locker room to begin their preparations to play, the dilemma quickly morphed into what to do. Going back to bed seemed a good option to many, but Aaron Baddeley knew that wasn’t possible.
“The girls will be up, so that will be tough,” Baddeley said, referring to his wife, Richelle, and daughters Jewell and Jolee.
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By late morning, the sun still did not shine through, but a common sentiment did.
“We’re all pretty bored,” said PGA Tour rookie Kyle Stanley, speaking for just about everyone in the 144-player field. “I’m very excited to get out there.”
Stanley, like many of the players, is staying in accommodations right here at Waialae CC. In that respect, it’s very easy to move in and out of the clubhouse, so he was one in a steady line of players stopping in to talk to the press.
Daniel Summerhays, Jhonattan Vegas, Alex Rocha, and Stanley gained some valuable experience in front of the camera, while veterans such as Ernie Els, Paul Goydos, Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, and Jonathan Byrd also stopped in. Johnson and Byrd, their wives, and children made plans to visit the local aquarium, while Waikiki Beach proved a natural pull to the youngersters without families.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever taken two days off of practice before a competition,” Stanley said. “But I guess everyone’s in the same boat. What do they say, patience is a virtue.”
If there was one positive thing to the delay, it was this: Stanley could give some thought to going with a good-luck charm that worked well at the final stage of the Qualifying Tournament in December. The night before that grind got under way, “I ate at Subway, then went out and shot 65,” Stanley said. “So I kept eating there every night. I even dragged all the people who were with me there.”
He hasn’t done Subway this week, but with Round 1 pushed back to Friday, Stanley said he has time to put that plan in motion.