EDISON, N.J. -- The PGA Tour on Friday reduced its first playoff event to 54 holes because of the rain and potential damage expected from Hurricane Irene.
New Jersey was under a hurricane warning, and officials feared up to 10 inches of rain could fall on Sunday. That would make it
impossible for The Barclays to be a 72-hole tournament, and the
aftermath of the storm would keep Plainfield Country Club from
being ready even into early next week.
Tournament director Peter Mele also said the volunteers needed
to be home to make plans for their families.
"It kind of makes you want to cry because of all the effort
that went in, and all of the energy that surrounded this event
going into the week, which is going to be the best Barclays we have
ever had," Mele said.
Slugger White, the tour's vice president of competition, said
the plan was to finish 36 holes Friday and start the third round first
thing Saturday morning, with hopes of getting in a 54-hole event
before the rain arrives.
If they can't finish Saturday, he said it would revert to a
36-hole tournament. Points would be distributed as if it were a full event, meaning the top 100 players after The Barclays would
advance to the second playoff event next week outside Boston.
Left unclear was whether a 36-hole tournament -- if that were the
case-- would count as an official win. Six years ago, Adam Scott won the Nissan Open at Riviera in a playoff after rain reduced the
tournament to 36 holes. Scott was awarded the prize money, but it
did not count toward the money list, and he received only 75
percent of the world ranking points.
"In the past it has not been an official win," White said.
"But this is a little different situation."
What mattered more at this FedEx Cup playoff event was advancing
to Boston. A short tournament figured to work in the favor of someone like Padraig Harrington and Will McGirt, the last two
players of the 125 who qualified for the playoffs. They were off to
a good start at The Barclays, and had only one more round to go to
get into the top 100.
And it suddenly became compelling at the top of the leaderboard.
It was another blow to The Barclays, one of golf's biggest
sponsors which is enduring a wet streak. Its Singapore Open last fall did not finish until Monday because of rain. Another event it
sponsors, the Scottish Open, was reduced to 54 holes in July
because of rain.
White said workers would start taking down the electronic
scoreboards Friday afternoon.
The Barclays was a sellout at Plainfield. Mele said only
Saturday tickets would be honored for the third round. He said
those who had Sunday tickets would be able to use them next year,
when the tournament moves to Bethpage Black.
This is the second straight year a hurricane has been the focus
at a playoff event. Hurricane Earl threatened the Deutsche Bank
Championship outside Boston last season, although it never
"I think you never know with hurricanes. They are fickle as we
all know," Mele said. "Unfortunately, this one wasn't."