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PGA Championship Unlikely to Finish Sunday

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters. Picture Supplied by Action Images.

SPRINGFIELD, NEW JERSEY | Two questions hung in the rain at the PGA Championship Saturday evening at Baltusrol:
Why didn’t the PGA of America elect to put players in threesomes off two tees early Saturday in an effort to get the third round in before forecast rain and storms arrived in the afternoon?
And, with the leaders not hitting a shot Saturday, is it realistic to think this PGA Championship can conclude on Sunday?
It’s clear the PGA of America took the optimistic approach Saturday, hoping it could get most or all of the third round played as scheduled despite a worrisome weather forecast. Obviously, it didn’t happen.
“It’s a major championship and we try and look at starting from one tee whenever we can. Unfortunately the weather didn’t help us today,” PGA Championships officer Kerry Haigh said.
Play was suspended at 2:14 p.m. and finally called for the day just before 6 p.m. For Kevin Kisner, who shot 65 and jumped into a tie for sixth before the weather delay, it worked out beautifully. But for co-leaders Jimmy Walker and Robert Streb and others, Sunday looks like a long, muddy grind.
Haigh said the Saturday weather forecast wasn’t significantly different from Thursday or Friday, when storms did not impact play. Haigh said there was hope for a break in the rain late Saturday but it did not materialize as anticipated.
It also seems likely this championship won’t end until Monday. It’s not unprecedented at Baltusrol. Gambling against the weather 11 years ago, a late-afternoon storm on Sunday forced a Monday finish when Phil Mickelson won here.
“I’m guessing we’re going to be here till at least Monday, hopefully not Tuesday,” Streb said. “But we’ll see how it goes and just kind of take today as a day of rest, I guess.”
With rain expected to continue through much of Saturday night, it’s possible – perhaps likely – that the announced 7 a.m. restart of the third round may be optimistic.
“Tomorrow, you never know, you might play 36 and be done, or tomorrow you might play six holes,” Patrick Reed said. “You never know.”
In hopes of squeezing everything in, the PGA has decided not to re-pair players for the final round, meaning Jimmy Walker and Robert Streb theoretically will begin their final round at 3:25 p.m. Sunday in the last group regardless of who is leading.
It’s similar to how the 2012 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island finished. The 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla also ended with players rushing to beat darkness after weather disrupted the weekend.
“We do have Monday as an option if we need it,” Haigh said. “Our primary aim is to finish Sunday.”


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