Compared to last season, the PGA Tour has skated through the first two months of the year without incident when it comes to weather delays. There have been some hiccups here and there, most notably at the notorious Pebble Beach, but we've largely stayed on schedule after the start of last year was thrown off by ridiculous winds, blizzard snow, floods, lightning, and rain.
The Tour's streak of relative good fortune ran out on Thursday, however, as the opening round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship, the best field and event of the season so far, was put in a weather delay early in the afternoon. The horn sounded just after 2:20 p.m. ET, as the winds rolled in and made it tough for players to stand over their ball, without oscillating, on the greens.
The winds immediately affected the redone Doral, as Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post captured:
The radar also makes it look like we won't have a resumption of play any time soon:
That doesn't look very good. pic.twitter.com/4c0aBoAocv— Rex Hoggard (@RexHoggardGC) March 6, 2014
The PGA Tour is already taking criticism for not pushing tee times up when the storm was predicted well before Thursday morning. The area around Doral was put under Tornado watch early in the day, and it was just a matter of time before the high winds and heavy stuff rolled in to disrupt the afternoon.
As Robert Lusetich of FOX Sports notes, the decision to keep the original tee times may have been influenced by a certain Tiger Woods scheduled to play during the afternoon broadcast window. With a WGC event like this, there's a limited field so the Tour does have a good bit of scheduling flexibility with the tee times but they made the call to keep things as is for Thursday.
We'll see if they get back on the course Thursday, but the limited field does also give more cushion for making up holes over the final three days. Graeme McDowell doesn't seem optimistic:
UPDATE: It looks like they're going to try and restart at 4:45 p.m. ET, but the radar remains a bit shaky. The course, by all accounts, sustained the storm just fine and is playable.