PGA Tour season starts again, this time with a reasonable forecast
A course flag flutters in view of the empty 19th fairway after play was suspended because of wind during the first round at the Tournament of Champions PGA golf tournament, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013, in Kapalua, Hawaii. Play was to have started two days earlier, but was delayed because of rain and high winds and Sunday's start included a wind delay after players began play. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
The Associated Press
Published Monday, January 7, 2013 6:54AM EST
Last Updated Monday, January 7, 2013 2:15PM EST
KAPALUA, Hawaii -- For the third time in four days, Rickie Fowler hit the opening tee shot of the 2013 PGA Tour season.
Only this time, he was in for a long day.
The Tournament of Champions started again on Monday -- the day it was supposed to finish. The high wind that caused two starts to be scrapped since Friday was still around before dawn, only this time it began to die as players were on the putting green under floodlights. When the last of the players teed off on the Plantation Course at Kapalua, the wind made it feel like a typical day on the west end of the Maui coast.
The prospects looked good for the 30-man field to get in 36 holes, with an 18-hole finish on Tuesday.
Even so, there was a feeling of Groundhog Day in paradise.
Jerry King, the golf professional and longtime starter, welcomed the gallery with an "Aloha" and repeated for the third day, "First on the tee, from Murrieta, Calif.," before introducing Fowler. He ripped a driver 361 yards down the fairway. His playing partner, Jason Dufner, again took his eight waggles before hitting.
The biggest turnaround belonged to Ben Curtis.
When the tour tried to play Sunday, gusts reached 48 mph, and Curtis got the worst of it. He hit his first two greens in regulation and played them in 5-over par. On the 11th hole, his ball blew some 25 feet away from the hole before he could walk to the green, and when he went to putt, it blew again off the green and down the slope.
Curtis hit both greens in regulation again on Monday, and went par-birdie.
The biggest cheer of the morning -- from a crowd of about 20 people -- was for defending champion Steve Stricker. Playing in the last group with Brandt Snedeker, it was the first shot they hit all week. Play was stopped Friday and Sunday -- and both rounds wiped clean -- before they could tee off.
Just their luck, no sooner had their shots safely found the middle of the fairway that they reached for their umbrellas.
It was starting to rain.