Downpours Take Ryder Cup Into Historic 4th Day
Newport, Wales. The Ryder Cup will finish on a Monday for the first time in the event’s 83-year history after torrential rain delayed the start of the final day’s play on Sunday.
Tournament referee John Paramor said play would take place today after rain bucketed down on the greens and fairways of Celtic Manor early on Sunday, leaving the course waterlogged.
“There is an enormous storm cell sitting out in the North Atlantic, the same one that affected us on Friday, and we are slap, bang in the middle of it,” Paramor said.
Later on Sunday, tournament officials announced play would resume at 1:30 p.m. local time (1230 GMT) after rain eased off.
Organizers hoped to complete the six matches of the third session before holding the 12 climactic singles matches from 9:05 a.m. today.
Teams of ground staff were working frantically to mop up pools of water from saturated fairways and greens in time for Sunday’s resumption.
It was the second time in three days that the biennial golfing showpiece was disrupted by severe weather after rain wiped out more than seven hours of playing time on Friday.
The latest disruption disappointed Europe captain Colin Montgomerie who had watched his side come roaring back to lead in all six matches of the third season on Saturday after the United States took a 6-4 lead overall.
“We have lost something of that momentum. We have to get that momentum back today. It should be a very interesting session coming up,” Montgomerie said, adding that he had spent Saturday warning his players against complacency.
“Because you’re three-up or four-up doesn’t mean you’ve won the game. I anticipate these matches to be a lot closer. But if we can get out of this level going into the singles I’ll be delighted.”
Leading the European fightback were English duo Lee Westwood and Luke Donald, who were four up after nine holes against the unbeaten American partnership of Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker in their foursome.
In the other foursome, Northern Irish duo Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy had raced into a three-hole lead against Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan when play was halted after just seven holes.
Europe also led in the four fourballs matches which make up the third session.
If play is not completed by sunset at 6:43 p.m. today, the Ryder Cup will be awarded to the team with most points from completed matches. All matches still on the course will be declared halved.
Sunday’s disruption is also bound to renew questions about the decision to move the biennial event further back into the calendar — raising the likelihood of problems with northern European weather.
This year’s event was shunted into October from its traditional September slot in order to accommodate the climax of the US PGA Tour’s multimillion-dollar Fedex Cup.