August 26, 1999
JAMES CRAMER: All right. We have Mike Shea, the Senior Director of Rules for the PGA TOUR. He's come down to tell us about the situation we're in and what we can look forward to over the next day.
MIKE SHEA: Thank you, James. Ladies and gentlemen, we had a rather unfortunate day today. It was a low-pressure system that was right over us, basically, and the upper winds were in a counterclockwise direction. And it was a continuous circling of thunderstorms that were just as one would pass, another would develop behind it, and it would come right on top of us. When we suspended play, I think it was 2:05, we were hoping to get back out. But at about 4:45, we thought we had a little window where we could let the players go practice for a 5:30 start without a threat of lightning, which we did. But before we sent the players out on the golf course, we wanted to make sure that they were safe. We wanted to make sure the spectators were safe. The weather forecaster that we have that's right on site with us let us know that there was more thunderstorms in the west coming this way. And about five minutes before we were loading the vans, we had some more thunder and rumbling. And this instrument that we have called Thor guard that kind of predicts, helps you predict where the lightning is going to happen through the atmospheric condition, it was measuring like 8.2, which means that there's an 80 percent chance of a lightning strike within 12 miles, and greater chance within two miles of the golf course. When we get those type of numbers, we don't feel anyone is safe; so we decided to pull the plug rather than send players out in a dangerous situation.
JAMES CRAMER: If you could let them know about the resumption tomorrow.
MIKE SHEA: The plan for the rest -- we'll start one day at a time. For tomorrow, we resume the first round at 7:30 tomorrow morning. Everyone will be in position ready to play at 7:30. We think we'll be finished with the first round by about 11:30. And at 12:30, we'll go off of two tees with a split off of two tees in threesomes. And the last tee time should be at about 1:30, and we should be right back on schedule at six o'clock tomorrow night with two rounds completed.
Q. What's the forecast?
MIKE SHEA: The forecast is getting better. Tomorrow is supposed to still be some chance of rain, but getting better during the course of the day; and also by weekend time, we should be seeing a lot of sun. So we have plenty of time to get back on schedule to complete the 72 holes. We have the luxury that we only have 41 players, and we can do it quickly tomorrow. We'll get right back on schedule tomorrow, and have a normal finish Saturday and Sunday.
Q. Two groups or three yet to tee off?
MIKE SHEA: There's two groups to tee off. We think that in pairs -- you know, they usually take about three hours and 45 minutes to play. Tomorrow morning at 7:45 the last group will go off and probably 11:30 they will be finished.
Q. The last group that teed off today, did they even get to their second shot?
MIKE SHEA: They are probably in the first fairway somewhere. I'm not sure where they are on the 1st hole whether they got to the green or not.
Q. If there's problems tomorrow, would you consider cutting it down to 54 holes?
MIKE SHEA: No. We're not even thinking about that. We have plenty of daylight and a small field, and we don't think we'll have any difficulty finishing 72 holes.
Q. If tomorrow's weather was similar to today, how important is it to have a decent weather day tomorrow?
MIKE SHEA: Well, you'd like to have sun every day. I'm sure the people in this part of the world probably could use a little bit of rain, but for our golf tournament, it wasn't the best thing that could have happened. But by Sunday, I think a lot of us in this room will kind of forget that we had a problem on Thursday, and we'll be talking about a great champion.
Q. Could you get an official number on how much rain fell last night?
MIKE SHEA: It was close to an inch and a half.
Q. What was the overall condition of the course?
MIKE SHEA: We went out and looked at the golf course thoroughly this morning when we heard that we had as much rain as we did, an inch and a half. Our committee, which is, you know, rules guys from all over the world from the various TOURs. We all took a good look at the golf course, and it there was the consensus that we could play the ball down. A championship of this nature, we hope to be able to do that. It changes a lot when you do have rain delays. But fortunately, as John said, I think some of the balls might have been picking up a little mud, but we didn't think it was going to be -- the condition of this golf course and the condition of these fairways is so good that we didn't think there was going to be that much mud on the ball.
Q. What if we get a lot more rain tomorrow and it gets really, really sloppy --
MIKE SHEA: We couldn't change until the second round. Tomorrow the guys will play -- play the ball down to complete the first round. Now, we could, if we decide the golf courses isn't right, we could go ahead and play lift-clean-and-play in the second round, but not the first.
Q. Do you know how much rain also fell today?
MIKE SHEA: I haven't heard yet. I haven't had a chance to talk to the superintendent. You know, rain wasn't that much of a problem. It wasn't that bad. It was just that these storms were close enough and nearby that it was more of a dangerous thing. The golf course was not a problem for us.
Q. Is it storms tomorrow or is it just rain?
MIKE SHEA: I think they are going to be more isolated tomorrow, and it's getting better.
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