Monday, August 20, 2012
AP Sports Writer
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Put those invitations to the PGA Tour’s playoffs on hold for one more day.
For all the bubble players, a downpour at the Wyndham Championship meant another day of uncertainty.
For leader Sergio Garcia, a four-year wait for another tour victory is going to stretch at least one more day.
When the tournament resumes Monday morning, Garcia will be in front. He was at 15 under through four holes Sunday when the final round in the last event before the FedEx Cup playoffs was suspended for the day because of persistent, heavy rain.
“The weather is one thing we can’t control,” Garcia said. “Just kind of be patient, and we’ll see.”
Tim Clark, Jason Dufner and Bud Cauley were at 14 under through varying stages of their rounds, and 38 players — half the field — were still on the course when play was stopped.
After waiting roughly 2 hours, 20 minutes, officials decided to bring them back to Sedgefield Country Club today to crown a champion and figure out who qualifies for the playoffs and who doesn’t. It will be the first Monday finish in Greensboro since 1983.
Tour officials said more than 2 inches of rain fell on the course since Saturday night and Mark Russell, the tour’s vice president of rules and competition, said the 15th hole became “unplayable.”
The stoppage came at 3:10 p.m. when the showers picked up, and it was expected to be only a brief delay, with the players initially staying on the course. Officials reversed that decision and brought them in a short while later.
Then, when the initially announced restart time of 5 p.m. was pushed back twice — first to 5:30 p.m., then 6 p.m. — it made it virtually impossible for the final pairing to finish 14 holes in the roughly 2 hours of remaining daylight and guaranteed a Monday finish.
The decision to suspend things was announced at 5:28 p.m.
“It started raining and just wouldn’t stop. The golf course got to the point where it was saturated,” Russell said. “We got to a point where we knew we couldn’t finish ... so we made a decision that we would let it drain tonight, come back in the morning and be in position to resume play at 9 o’clock.”
Clark, who started the day a stroke behind Garcia, birdied two of his first four holes to match Garcia at 15 under.
A bogey on the par-5 No. 5 dropped him back a stroke, and he was in the fairway on No. 6 when the rain delay came.
“Obviously, we’d all like to continue playing,” Clark said. “You get into a rhythm out there, and you’d like to keep going. But it’s going to be the same for all of us. It’s just a tough situation.”
Garcia began the day at 14 under and had three pars sandwiched around a birdie on the par-3 No. 3. He was preparing for a 40-yard chip when play stopped.
Garcia, who hasn’t won on tour since the 2008 Players Championship, also wants a spot on the European Ryder Cup team. The 10 automatic qualifiers will be set following the Johnny Walker Invitational with captain Jose Maria Olazabal making two captain’s picks.
Garcia certainly made a case for inclusion with his play this week, following his second-round 63 — his lowest round on the tour in a decade — with a 66 that gave him a one-stroke lead entering the final round.
While Garcia continued his chase for that spot, other players were trying to secure a spot in the playoffs that begin later this week. The top 125 on the points list qualify for The Barclays at Bethpage Black.
Heath Slocum, who arrived at No. 128, was at 11 under through 13 holes and was at No. 120 on the projected standings.
Every stroke was critical for Y.E. Yang, who came to Greensboro at No. 129 and needed a strong final round to push his way into the postseason. He finished at 6 under following a third straight 69 and was projected to miss the playoffs at No. 127 when play stopped.