Tornado Watch Issued As Players Championship Sees Delayed Saturday Start

The first round of The Players Championship, which started on Thursday, has yet to be completed due to the awful weather conditions

Sign warning of incoming weather
(Image credit: Getty Images)

After Friday saw just a few hours of play around TPC Sawgrass, it had been announced that the resumption of first round action was set to start "no earlier" than 11am (4pm GMT) on Saturday. 

However, early on Saturday morning, that timing had been already been pushed back by an hour to 12pm, although, in a tweet by PGA Tour Communications, practice facilities will open at 10:30am ET.

Before the tweet, there had been an announcement of a tornado warning in the Northeast of Florida, making it unclear as to whether play will resume at all on Saturday.

Announced by the National Weather Service, Florida has been issued with a severe thunderstorm warning for Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, and Sumter Counties until 9:30am, whilst all of the Tampa Bay area is under a tornado watch until 11am, with the severe weather expected to roll through the area Saturday morning.

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Tournament chief referee, Gary Young, had stated on Friday afternoon that the course had received around two-and-a-half inches of rain in a 24-hour period and that a Monday finish was effectively certain. In the process, he also admitted the event had the "potential" to head into a sixth day for the first time in its history.

Looking ahead to the weekend's weather, according to the CNN weather team, the rain and severe storm threat will have passed by midday Saturday, though temperatures will plummet and strong winds of up to 40 mph look set to prolong difficulties for golfers.

Currently, just over half the field have completed their first rounds at The Players Championship, but a slight let-up in the weather on Sunday and Monday may provide enough time to finish the event before more reported thunder storms arrive on Tuesday. At this present moment though, there are still 47 players that need to complete their first rounds.

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Matt Cradock
Matt Cradock

Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.