The fourth round of the 2013 Arnold Palmer Invitational is in weather delay, with thunderstorms hitting the Orlando area around Bay Hill. The horn sounded right around 2 p.m. ET. shortly after Tiger Woods drained a birdie putt on the second hole to extend his lead to three shots.
The PGA Tour took all the players and spectators off the course, and shortly thereafter, word came from the assembled press corps that they were forced to leave the media tent.
Evacuating the media tent at the @apinv— Ron Sirak (@ronsirak) March 24, 2013
Tornado warning at Bay Hill, so we have evacuated to the player dining room. Here, a candlelight vigil: twitter.com/RyanLavnerGC/s…— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) March 24, 2013
Got evacuated from media center. Never seen anything like it running through parking lot. Don't think I've ever been so wet either.— Stephanie Wei (@StephanieWei) March 24, 2013
Dark skies immediately moved in and nasty lightning and thunder hit Bay Hill, which will undoubtedly soften up because of the rain. There is no update yet on when play will resume, with a Sunday finish in jeopardy. Darkness hits the Orlando area around 7:45 p.m. ET, and with the final group just through two holes, they likely have four hours of play still ahead of them.
Of course, Tiger is not unfamiliar with winning this event in the darkness at Bay Hill. He dramatically canned a lengthy putt on the 18th in 2009 for one of his seven previous victories at this event. When, or if, play resumes on Sunday, Woods will start on the third hole with a three-shot lead over a quartet of players, including Fowler and Keegan Bradley. It should be a significantly different course by the time they get out there, as water was already pooling throughout the fairways.
UPDATE: PGA Tour official Mark Russell sat down with NBC's Dan Hicks and Johnny Miller during the delay, and stated that there was indeed a tornado warning in the area and that there was some damage done to structures on the course. The clubhouse also lost power as the winds whipped across Bay HIll. Russell would not estimate a time for resumption of play, but given the likely cleanup work needed, it will be awhile and a Sunday finish seems improbable.
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