Hyundai Tournament of Champions: PGA Tour eyes Tuesday finish for wind-delayed season-opener

Christian Petersen

PGA Tour’s season-opener could be cut to 36 holes.

Wonder what the odds are that NHL players get back on the ice before PGA Tour golfers make it to the first tee?

On a day when the hockey lockout finally came to an end, the field of 30 wind-blown 2012 titleholders had weathered so many climate-related delays that a Tuesday finish -- and even an unofficial, 36-hole event -- were up for grabs at the season-opening Tournament of Champions.

“Tuesday is not out of the realm as yet,” Slugger White, the tour's VP of rules and competition, told reporters after the cancellation of Saturday play, hours before weather forced even more delays on Sunday. "Fifty-four holes is what we are trying to finish....I think you can determine a champion with 54 holes with no problem whatsoever; 36, I don't think so."

Officials had already cut the first game of the 2013 season to 54 holes due to strong winds and heavy rains rendering the Plantation Course unplayable for the first two scheduled rounds. Indeed, for the third straight day, strong winds locked players off the Plantation Course, with the latest halt (a four-hour delay, with a slated start time of 4:10 ET/11:10 a.m. local) potentially keeping them in Maui beyond Monday’s scheduled finish.

Should circumstances require a Tuesday round, the winners-only event at Kapalua would run into Thursday’s start of the Sony Open in Honolulu. Kapalua contestants Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, and Kyle Stanley were just some of the players scheduled to start at Waialae Country Club.

In any case, after two consecutive washouts, organizers hoped to get 36 holes in the books on Sunday and play 18 on Monday. That sequence will likely be switched around -- assuming players can even get off the first and 10th tees on Sunday, when winds continued to whip up to 50 mph across the facility.

While White was uncomfortable contemplating the prospect of winnowing the tourney down to 36 holes, it was clearly an option, given a couple of clarifying tweets from the tour.

Aloha, golf fans.

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