When it comes to outdoor sports, never underestimate the power of the elements. No less than the PGA can attest to that, as play at the Genesis Invitational in Southern California was suspended Saturday because of strong winds.
How strong? Well, strong enough to blow the golf balls right off the green — and that’s not even an exaggeration. According to reports, the wind gusted up to 34 mph. So gold balls weren’t the only thing blowing around at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
“We got into a situation of player safety,” tournament director Steve Rintoul said.
“Safety of our volunteers and everybody else out there on the golf course was our primary reason for shutting things down.
“We had a piece of communications equipment fall down very close to some players on the 14th tee, which really makes us as a committee step back and say maybe we need to go ahead and suspend now because it gets really more dangerous out there and that was ultimately the decision.
“We had some balls move around on the putting greens, which we were able to deal with under the rules.”
One golfer, JB Holmes, was lining up his putt when his cap blew off his head. It was just that kind of day. It blew.
“Max Homa, on the other hand, hit 5-iron from 222 yards on the par-5 opening hole to the middle of the green, and the wind and slope pushed it closer and closer to the hole until it stopped 10 inches away,” reported Yahoo Sports.
Play was scheduled to resume Sunday, with Sam Burns atop the leaderboard and holding a two-shot lead over Matt Fitzpatrick. Dustin Johnson, Max Homa and Wyndham Clark are each three shots back.
“I was on the chipping green and balls were coming off the green,” Burns said of Saturday’s mess. “I was like, eventually there’s going to be a halt of play.”