BMW Pro-Am co-leader Ben Martin, who went to Clemson and led the tournament after one round, is happy to be playing close to home.
Scott Keepfer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rain has historically been as much a part of the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation as golf itself, and this year’s event is shaping up to be no exception.
The rain arrived with a flourish Friday morning, delaying the second round of the four-day Web.com Tour event three times.
Only a couple of foursomes had teed off before the first delay went into effect, lasting for 2 hours and 45 minutes. The earliest foursomes to tee off had completed only four or five holes as of mid-afternoon on Friday.
“The forecast definitely doesn’t look conducive to being able to play uninterrupted all weekend,” said Preston Smith, on-site communications specialist for the Web.com Tour. “The goal is a 72-hole tournament and we’re going to do our best to accomplish that. But this is kind of like the perfect storm.”
The strategy is simple: Get as many holes finished as possible when weather permits.
Rain puddles in front of the 18th green at Thornblade Club prior to the cancellation of the final round of the BMW Charity Pro-Am in 2017. (Photo: FILE PHOTO)
“That’s always our strategy,” Smith said. “At some point you’re talking about fighting daylight hours. There will have to be some point where we have to start thinking about how many rounds we can finish.”
Smith said that meteorologists are at both sites to monitor the conditions, which are expected to worsen on Saturday and Sunday. Between five and seven inches of rain are forecast for many areas of the Upstate over the next few days.
With 320 players, including professionals, amateurs and celebrities, combining to play at both Thornblade Club and The Cliffs Valley courses, navigating the logistics can be challenging even in perfect weather.
The good news is that rounds should be considerably shorter on Saturday and Sunday, as the field is cut to the low 65 professional golfers following the completion of the second round.
“We can go to two tees and get them around in two-hour time blocks and five hours to play, so we only need seven total hours of playable conditions,” Smith said.
Two years ago, Stephen Jaeger was declared the winner of the BMW tournament after 54 holes when the final round was washed out.
A similar fate could await.
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“You don’t see a whole lot of these where rain is forecast all weekend long,” Smith said. “Guys can play through light rain and even heavier rain as long as the course can hold it and there’s no lightning.”
If the players are able to log at least 36 holes, the tournament would be official in terms of players getting paid and earning rankings points, but it would not count as an official win, according to Web.com guidelines. The tournament must extend to at least 54 holes for it to be considered an official victory.