Trouble in Paradise High Winds Halt Play in Hawaii
The PGA Tour was scheduled to begin the 2013 season with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at Kapalua on Maui. High winds gusting from 25-40 mph and pounding rains have made play impossible on the hilly ocean-side Plantation course.
Maui is normally the perfect spot to open the golf season. While the continental United States is blanketed in snow and freezing cold the PGA Tour annually opens its season in Hawaii.
Warm trade winds blowing in from the Pacific with palm trees waving majestically is the image the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce wants to beam back to the U.S. High winds and rain pelting tour players remind golf fans more of Scotland than Hawaii.
Both the first and second rounds have been canceled at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and it is questionable whether play will begin on Sunday.
The winds are predicted to ease slightly on Sunday but will still be sustained at 20-25 mph with gusts up to 30 mph. The course is exposed to these winds and a golf ball will not come to rest on the slick greens making play impossible.
The event invites only PGA Tour tournament winners from the previous season. Even though Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy are not on hand, there are more than enough tour stars to provide a great show for the television coverage.
Masters champ, Bubba Watson and 2012 U.S. Open winner, Webb Simpson are both here, as well as, the $10 million-man FedEx Cup winner, Brandt Snedeker. Rickie Fowler, Keegan Bradley, Dustin Johnson and Jason Dufner all had wins last year and are on hand ln Maui.
Steve Stricker, the defending champion, at the age of 45 is the oldest competitor in the field. 2012 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, John Huh who will be the last player ever to go directly from Q-School to a win on the PGA Tour is the youngest player in the Tournaments of Champions at 22 years old.
Huh earned his 2012 tour card by finishing in the Top 25 in Q-School at the end of 2011. In addition to his win at Mayakoba in February, he had a runner-up at the Valero Texas Open in April. He also managed four top-10 finishes and made 22 of 28 cuts. He earned nearly $2.7 million in 2012 and finished No. 25 in the FedEx Cup standings.
Due to the scheduling changes for 2014 and the new qualification process for the PGA Tour, players must now earn their tour cards via the Web.com Tour.
Tour officials will try to resume play early on Sunday morning and finish 36 holes before dark. A final 18-hole round for Sunday will reduce the event to 54 holes but still make it an official event for the players.
The Hyundai Tournament of Champions can be viewed on NBC on Sunday afternoon (3-6 PM ET) before switching coverage to the Golf Channel (6-10 PM ET) in the evening.
The final round is scheduled to be broadcast on the Golf Channel on Monday 4:00-8:00 PM ET.