Weather or not, the PGA Tour plans to go the distance to determine a champion in the rain-plagued Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana.
Inclement weather has forced 9 hours, 30 minutes in delays/suspensions through the first three rounds at the 7,425-yard, par 72 Pete Dye layout, including 5 hours, 43 minutes Saturday.
Rain initially halted play at 12:14 p.m. Play was resumed at 5:57 p.m. and halted again at 7:32 p.m. by darkness. Play resumes at 7:30 a.m. Sunday with threesomes going off first and 10th tees.
“54 holes is not in the mix,’’ said Slugger White, PGA Tour vice-president for rules and competitions.
White said the goal is to complete the tournament as scheduled, and if inclement weather persists Sunday, “we would be here Monday if we have (lengthy) delays.’’
White dismissed the possibility that the tournament could be shortened to 54 holes because of the scheduled Wednesday start at the WGC-Cadillac Match Play at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.
Seven players who are scheduled to play in the WGC-Cadillac Match Play remain in the Zurich Classic field after 36 holes — Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Billy Horschel, Keegan Bradley, Bernd Weisberger and Marc Leishman. Five other Match Play qualifiers missed the cut at the Zurich Classic — Rickie Fowler, Jamie Donaldson, Marc Warren, Harris English and John Senden.
Zurich Classic officials will provide a chartered flight to San Francisco for those players still in the New Orleans field Sunday night or Monday, if necessary.
The last PGA Tour event to be shortened to 54 holes is the 2013 Hyundai Tournament of Champions, won by Johnson, who currently sits five off the pace at 7-under. Three of Johnson’s previous nine PGA titles have come in 54 hole events.
Rain is forecast for Sunday and Monday in metro New Orleans.
Day and Erik Compton share the overnight lead in the clubhouse at 13-under par when third-round play resumes Sunday. Day is 1-under through three holes in his round and Compton is 4-under through six holes. Both are playing the front side.
“My main focus is just winning this week,’’ Day said. “If I go into the WGC without a practice round, that’s fine. As long as I come away with a win (here), that’s all I’m worrried about right now.’’
Bradley stands 7-under for the tournament through eight holes of his third round, five shots off the lead.
“I train with my trainer all year long for this type of stuff, so going right into match play Wednesday doesn’t scare me,’’ Bradley said. “Now having to play here on Monday would be a little difficult just to prepare for the tournament but I think we got good weather tomorrow, so I don’t see that happening.’’
Unkindest cut of all
Steve Stricker’s PGA Tour-best consecutive cut streak ended at 36 Saturday when he failed to qualify for the final 36 holes of the Zurich Classic.
Stricker finished at 3-under 141 after rounds of 69-72. The cut at minus-5 features 71 players including second-round leader Day (67-65) at 12-under 132.
Stricker last missed a cut at the 2012 The Players Championship with rounds of 76 and 74.
Going, going gone
Seventy-one players survived the cut at minus 5 at the completion of the rain-interrupted second round Saturday morning.
Among the cuts are English (140), Fowler (140), Donaldson (141), Jonas Blixt (141) and Nick Watney (142).
Five players withdrew Sunday, including S.J. Park (shoulder), Bill Lunde, Richard Sterne, Robert Allenby and Robert Garrigus.
Tournament officials will honor the following used and unused tickets Sunday:
- Weekend ACME Oyster House tickets
- Saturday/Weekend Champions Club tickets
- Saturday, 17th, 18th and Executive Suite tickets.
The only parking passes honored will be those designated for Sunday and weekly.
- Saturday tickets for venues will be honored because they did not open until mid-day Saturday.
- Because daily tickets are not date specific, used daily tickets cannot be accepted.
By the numbers
42 mph — measured top wind gusts at TPC Louisiana on Saturday afternoon, causing downed trees and limbs around the course. A vendor said at least one alligator sought shelter in a merchandise tent along the 18th fairway.
571 minutes — That breaks down to more than 91/2 hours of weather delays since the start of the tournament Thursday. The first three days have been interrupted by weather, including 78 minutes Thursday, 21/2 hours Friday and nearly six hours Saturday.
He said it
“I’d like to get to about 40-under.’’ — Clubhouse co-leader Erik Compton when asked if he had a winning number in mind.