The return of the FedEx Cup Playoffs to Indianapolis began just how it finished the last time the BMW Championship came to Crooked Stick in 2012.
A 3.5-hour delay halted play during the first round of the tournament, delaying the primetime trio of Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy, and Jordan Spieth’s opening golf shots until after 5 p.m. ET. The three got off to excellent starts to the round, going out in 31, 33, and 34 respectively — but they only completed one more hole before play was suspended around 8 p.m. Conditions should be favorable when they return to the course early Friday morning to finish, giving all three players a chance to match Roberto Castro’s opening-round 7-under 65.
It’s a tough start to the event considering the forecast for the rest of the week -- more storms are predicted for Friday and Saturday, and a Monday finish might not be out of the question. Indianapolis turned out some of the largest golf crowds of the 2012 season when the event was here four years ago, despite soggy conditions. With ticket sales outpacing the 2012 edition, organizers had hoped for prime conditions for spectators — and a stiffer test for players. Despite a well-done Pete Dye renovation, no one’s going to confuse Crooked Stick with Oakmont even in the driest of conditions. That certainly wasn’t the case after the rains came on Thursday.
“(The course) was playing beautifully early in the morning. Fairways were running, you had to hit good tee shots, you had to hit good shots into the greens,” said Sergio Garcia, after firing a 3-under 69 to open the tournament. “Unfortunately, the rain made it soft and easier for everybody that started after the rain delay. But it is what it is.”
“I think that 3-under this morning, the way the course was playing, would have been a really, really good round and unfortunately we’re not even going to finish in the top 10.”
But despite the soggy conditions in 2012, Crooked Stick still provided a star-stocked leaderboard. That seems to be materializing once again. Dustin Johnson, Jason Dufner, Hideki Matsuyama, and even Sergio are all within the Top 10 after the first day of play. Defending BMW Champ Jason Day struggled to a 1-over-round of 73 — 8 shots off Castro’s pace.
Ryder Cup Watch
With three captain’s picks set to be made after the event for the US, it’s worth keeping an eye on the guys who have the best chance to garner a roster spot this week. You can be certain Davis Love III will be doing exactly that.
Of the 10 guys I outlined as possibly having the best shot at making the roster after this week, Kevin Na had the best first-day showing after firing a 3-under 69. If he’s able to contend and win this weekend, he’ll have an excellent case to make his Ryder Cup debut.
But you can’t win a tournament on the first day. You can lose it, though — and Rickie Fowler was teetering on that territory after day one. Playing alongside Na and Sergio Garcia, Fowler struggled for most of the round, flirting with finishing the day in dead last. He fired a 3-over 75 on a day when most of the field was able to break par. Could a bad showing in Indy actually keep Rickie off the roster for another two weeks and leave his fate in doubt heading into the Tour Championship? Probably not! But it’s fun to talk about, I guess.
With the weather forcing the early-morning finish for the first round, tee times won’t reverse during the second round. Instead, we’ll have a dual-tee start off 1 and 10 at 10 a.m. for the second round, in an attempt to finish the first two rounds before rains are expected again. Here’s all the information you need to follow the BMW Championship on Friday.
The field will resume the first round at 8 a.m. Here is a complete look at the coverage for Friday. All times Eastern.
Friday's second-round coverage
9 a.m. to 7 p.m. -- Golf Channel
8 to 12 a.m. -- Golf Channel (replay)
10 a.m. to 7 p.m. -- PGATour.com featured groups stream
9 a.m. to 7 p.m. -- Golf Channel simulcast stream
1 to 7 p.m. -- PGA Tour Radio on Sirius-XM (Ch. 93/208)