Monday 24 October 2016

Second ever Monday finish for British Open due to weather delays

Published 18/07/2015 | 10:05

A weather warning sign as high winds suspend play during a Golf in the Olympic Games press conference during day three of The Open Championship 2015 at St Andrews
A weather warning sign as high winds suspend play during a Golf in the Olympic Games press conference during day three of The Open Championship 2015 at St Andrews
A view of flags blowing on the scoreboard as high winds suspend play during day three of The Open Championship 2015 at St Andrews, Fife.

THE 144th Open golf Championship at St Andrews will finish on Monday.

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An announcement was made just after 1.30 pm that today's play, which was suspended due to gale force winds

will hopefully re-start around 4.0 pm.

A total of 42 golfers including Ireland's Darren Clarke, Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson, have to finish their second rounds.

The plan is to complete the second round today, play the third round tomorrow and have the fourth round on Monday.

This will be only the second time in the Open Championship's history that it will finish on a Monday.

Organisers the R&A made the decision to extend the event into a fifth day with the plan to finish round two on Saturday, and the third and fourth rounds to follow on Sunday and Monday.

The only time the Open has previously been extended to Monday was when rain severely affected the 1988 event at Royal Lytham, where Seve Ballesteros went on to claim his third Claret Jug.

"The intention is to complete the second round today with round three to be played on Sunday and the final round to be played on Monday," said a statement.

"The forecasts predict a drop in wind speeds between 3 & 4pm. Play is expected to resume at 4pm, providing acceptable wind speeds.

"An announcement regarding Saturday and Monday tickets will be made shortly."

Some players criticised the R&A for its decision to even begin play on Saturday.

Read more: Dunne stays calm amid storm to mix it with Open elite

American Jordan Spieth, chasing the third leg of an unprecedented calendar year grand slam, was one of the players recalled to finish his second round and although his five-under score was not adversely affected, unlike some others, he did not agree with the decision to resume.

"We should never have started," television cameras picked up him saying as players were called off the course.

England's Lee Westwood told Open TV: "I wouldn't say this is a particularly strong wind for a links course. You should be able to play in 40mph winds.

"When you do set the greens so fast this is likely to happen, especially on exposed greens."

The R&A insists it took all possible steps to assess the conditions and it was only after play started that things deteriorated.

"We spent an hour at the far end of the course, before play started, assessing whether the course was playable," said an R&A spokesman.

"Balls were not moving on the greens and while the conditions were extremely difficult, we considered the golf course to be playable.

"Gusts of wind increased in speed by 10-15 per cent after play resumed. This could not be foreseen at the time that play was restarted and made a material difference to the playability of the golf course."

Read more: Harrington hoping weather will wreak havoc on weekend

The more exposed parts of the course - particularly the 11th green - were most affected, with the group of Brooks Koepka, John Senden and Tadahiro Takayama unable to even attempt a putt because the balls were moving so much, causing a back-up on the tee behind them.

But problems were evident elsewhere with overnight leader Dustin Johnson, resuming at 10 under, falling foul of the conditions.

On returning where he had left his ball in front of the par-five 14th green he chunked a chip and, somewhat naively, was slow to walk to where it had finished. Just as he went to place his marker behind the ball the wind blew it back off the green, resulting in a bogey.

That dropped him back to nine under and tied with Yorkshire's Danny Willett, who finished his round on Friday.

Playing partner Spieth left his birdie putt short at the same hole and took an angry full swing with his putter before offering up a few choice words.

The pair safely negotiated the next before play was halted.

Former US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy, who finished his second round on Friday, had some sympathy for both his fellow players and also organisers.

"It was tough for the boys to go out in circus conditions a little bit this morning," he told ESPN.

"In hindsight I guess it was the wrong decision as they only got half-an-hour but everyone wants the champion to walk up 18 on Sunday so they did their best."

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