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Hurricane threatens Pádraig's FedEx hopes

The second event of the FedEx Cup play-off series was bracing itself today for the possibility of disruption caused by Hurricane Earl.

Tee-off times in the opening round of the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston were brought forward and precautions were being taken to avoid damage if the hurricane hit.

"We're going to come in and we're going to play all we can," said US Tour official Mark Russell. "Hopefully Earl will slow down and we'll get finished. If we can't, we've just got to play it by ear, get the players off, get the spectators to take shelter and see what happens.

"We can play in a little wind and a little rain, but the lightning is what's going to put us out of business."

The storm was a category-four hurricane early yesterday, with winds of 140mph. But it had been downgraded to a category three, with winds of 125mph, by mid-afternoon.

"Once we get to the early afternoon time frame, we will definitely start getting some of the outer bands of Earl and so we'll get some showers and some brief, gusty winds," said meteorologist Steve Williams.

The forecast might mean an advantage for those with early tee times, including Scot Martin Laird, who lost a play-off to Matt Kuchar in the first round of the series last weekend, Ireland's Rory McIlroy and England's Ian Poulter and Paul Casey.

The later starters included Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Luke Donald, Justin Rose and Pádraig Harrington.

The hurricane is expected to pass the area by the early hours of tomorrow.

"We aren't going to take any chances," added Russell. "A category-two hurricane is serious business. It can blow trees down and do a lot of damage. We want to give people time to get home and take shelter. If this thing goes more to the west it could be very serious. Hopefully it will slow down and go east of here."