Snow halts opening round at Match Play
MARANA, Ariz. (AP) — Already a year of wacky weather on the PGA Tour, this topped it all: snow.
The opening round of the Match Play Championship was suspended Wednesday when slush on the green gave way to snow that covered the fairways and greens at Dove Mountain and made it impossible to play.
"Yes yes the greens are covered in snow in Arizona. Wow it was freezing out there," Ian Poulter tweeted.
He was 3 up in his match against Stephen Gallacher of Scotland through 12 holes.
It was the second time in three years at Dove Mountain that wintry weather led to a delay. Snow fell overnight before the championship match between Martin Kaymer and Luke Donald in 2011, and while it cleared away when the match began, there was a short delay when sleet briefly covered the fairways.
But it was nothing like this. Snow fell steadily, and it wasn't long before caddies began a snowball fight.
This is the latest weather incident on the PGA Tour this year. The season began with high wind on Maui, with 40 mph gusts at Kapalua that kept the Tournament of Champions from starting until the day it was supposed to end. It was shortened to 54 holes, a week so weird that the tournament ended 29 hours after it began.
Fog wiped out an entire day of golf at Torrey Pines, where Tiger Woods eventually won on a Monday. There were frost delays in the early rounds of the Phoenix Open.
Who would have guessed that some of the best weather all year would be at Pebble Beach?
The snow likely would only throw the Match Play Championship off schedule for a day or two. Ten of the 32 matches had not started, including Tiger Woods and Charles Howell III, who have not faced each other since Woods beat him in the third round of the 1996 U.S. Amateur.
Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry also were schedule to play Wednesday afternoon.
Sergio Garcia was 2 up over Thongchai Jaidee in the leadoff match that was through 15 holes. The closest player to finishing was Bo Van Pelt, who overcame two bad holes early and built a 5-up lead over John Senden of Australia. Senden was in trouble off the tee on the 13th, and if he loses the hole, the match would be over. At the rate the snow was falling, Senden at least could wait until Thursday.
Jason Day was 6 up over Zach Johnson through 10 holes in what was shaping up as another rout, while defending champion Hunter Mahan was 4 up over Matteo Manassero of Italy through nine holes.