Why The Players Championship Could Finish On Monday

Storms cause multiple delays on the opening day, with worse expected on Friday

Pat Perez, Jhonattan Vegas and Ian Poulter huddle under umbrellas at The Players Championship
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Players Championship may not finish until Monday after a series of weather delays on the opening day, with more storms expected. Play got underway at TPC Sawgrass in Florida an hour late as the course was made playable after an estimated 1.25 inches of rain fell overnight, but just after 11am local time play was suspended again as the heavens opened once more.

The PGA Tour’s on-site meteorologist Wade Stettner told yahoo!sports before the tournament that as long as there are no electric storms, a Sunday finish was still on the cards. “I think they’ll be able to play some golf every day,” he said. 

“The rainfall amounts we think we’re going to see don’t look like they would be heavy enough to make the course unplayable, given the fact that the drainage is so good and they’ve got the technology to take moisture out of the greens. Lightning is what will require them to pull everyone off.”

Much of the positivity of getting The Players Championship finished on time is born from the renovations undertaken in 2006 that saw a system that draws moisture from the greens installed. Despite weekend downpours in 2011, 2013 and 2014, the tournament has finished on Sunday ever since.

However, Stettner warned ominously during the break in play on Thursday afternoon: “Tomorrow’s going to be another tough day. It looks like we could be battling the thunderstorms throughout most of the day.”

He has been positive all week that the tournament will finish on time though, telling yahoo!sport: “I think the worst of it will be Friday. If we can get through two rounds and make the cut, the rules officials can put the players in threesomes with split tees [starting at the 1st hole and the 10th]. At this point, I don’t see any reason we can’t finish on Sunday.”

There hasn’t been a Monday finish at The Players Championship since 2005, when the weather was so bad the tournament, won by Fred Funk, almost spilled over into Tuesday. The whole of Friday’s play was lost to the weather on that occasion, and there were further delays on Saturday and Sunday. The second round wasn’t completed til Sunday, with most of the third round and all of the fourth crammed into the Monday. Funk played 32 holes on the Monday, finishing one stroke ahead of runners-up Luke Donald, Tom Lehman and Scott Verplank.

The last Monday finish on the PGA Tour was at The Northern Trust at Liberty National in New Jersey last August, 21 tournaments ago. Hurricane Henri caused the postponement of all play on the Sunday there, and a four-hour delay on Monday too, before Tony Finau emerged victorious after a play-off with Cameron Smith.

Jeff Kimber
Freelance Staff Writer

Jeff graduated from Leeds University in Business Studies and Media in 1996 and did a post grad in journalism at Sheffield College in 1997. His first jobs were on Slam Dunk (basketball) and Football Monthly magazines, and he's worked for the Sunday Times, Press Association and ESPN. He has faced golfing greats Sam Torrance and Sergio Garcia, but on the poker felt rather than the golf course. Jeff's favourite course played is Sandy Lane in Barbados, which went far better than when he played Matfen Hall in Northumberland, where he crashed the buggy on the way to the 1st tee!