Players struggle as desert weather worsens
Saturday, February 20, 2010
MARANA, Ariz. – We came to watch the Accenture Match Play Championship and the British Open broke out.
It might sound funny to you, but to those trying to compete here at Dove Mountain, it’s no laughing matter. With cold winds whipping at 20-25 miles per hour and a steady rain pounding down, it sure feels like Carnoustie.
But all the signage assures us we’re at the Accenture and all the cacti shows us that we haven’t left the desert. Until this morning, it had been a pristine week, warm temperatures and endless blue sky. Forget all that, however, because with the semifinals barely under way, play had to be halted.
With Sergio Garcia vs. Ian Poulter through two holes and Camilo Villegas vs. Paul Casey through one, players were put into vans, kept out on the course, and allowed to let the worst of the wind and driving rain blow by.
We’re back to golf here and while the wind has subsided, it’s still cold and wet.
It’s also ugly golf – though you can’t blame the players. Conditions are just brutal.
Garcia needed five strokes at the 445-yard, par-4 first – and still didn’t finish the hole. He conceded to Poulter, but coming along next, Casey could commisserate. The Englishman had made a birdie and three pars at the first in his previous matches, but against Villegas he made a double-bogey to fall 1 down.
Play isn’t getting any better, either.
At the 209-yard, par-3 third, Garcia shanked his shot dead right into water, while Poulter hooked his shot into a bunker 30 yards left of the green. He hit his second into another bunker, blasted on to 5 feet and won the hole, with a bogey.
Gotta love it.