Humana’s third round suspended by wind
Saturday, January 21, 2012
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- President Bill Clinton threw his arms in the air and apologized to fans as he walked toward a black sport-utility vehicle parked in the loading dock of PGA West’s clubhouse.
Clinton once was the most powerful man in the world, but he couldn’t stop the high winds that delayed the third round of the Humana Challenge. He was on the 10th hole of PGA West’s Palmer Private course when play was suspended at 1:25 p.m. local time. Gusts of approximately 50 mph toppled trees and portable toilets, and sent a scoreboard into a lake.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Zach Johnson, currently in third place at 17 under par. Mark Wilson leads at 21 under par, three shots ahead of Ben Crane. Wilson completed 15 holes at La Quinta Country Club on Saturday. Crane is 18 under par after finishing 12 holes there.
The Humana’s third round will resume at 7:30 a.m. Sunday, after which the field will be cut to the low 70 and ties. The fourth round is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., with the final tee time at noon. Sunset is scheduled for 5:06 p.m. Sunday, though mountains surrounding PGA West cause darkness to arrive sooner. Wilson is skeptical of the tournament’s chances of finishing Sunday.
“I’ve done the math,” he said. “I don’t know how they can.”
Slugger White, the PGA Tour’s vice president of rules and competition, said La Quinta Country Club suffered the worst damage, including several downed trees. A scoreboard blew into the lake on the 18th hole at PGA West’s Palmer Private course. Tents were downed in Bob Hope Square, the concession area at the center of PGA West. Fans were evacuated to the driving range after a Humana tent was toppled by wind.
“It’s a mess,” White said. “A real mess.”
The amateur portion of the event was canceled in order to make a Sunday finish possible, cutting short Clinton’s round in the event he helped revitalize.
The highest winds came in quick bursts followed by periods of calm. Johnson had completed the 13th hole on the Nicklaus Private course when play was canceled. He was planning to hit a 4-iron to the par 5. Then the wind blew. “By the time it was my turn to hit, there was absolutely no way I could have teed up a driver and got it there,” he said.
Whether anyone tees it up Monday remains to be seen. One thing is certain, however: It was a wild and windy Saturday at the Humana Challenge.