PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Raging wind that toppled a 40-foot Monterey pine across the third fairway and a steady rain ended hopes of completing the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on Sunday for the first time in nine years.
The six-hour delay meant the leaders would not tee off until 6:35 p.m. EST at the earliest, allowing for only enough daylight to complete about seven holes. And that’s if they even started.
Dustin Johnson had a four-shot lead as he tries to join Anthony Kim as the only players under 25 with multiple PGA Tour victories.
The last Monday finish at Pebble Beach came in 2000, when Tiger Woods rallied to win from five shots behind, including a seven-shot deficit with seven holes to play. One year earlier, the late Payne Stewart had a one-shot lead through 54 holes when Sunday was washed out, and the tournament was cut short to 54 holes because of storm system that stretched to Japan.
Sunday was ominous from the start.
Tee times were delayed by two hours with a steady rain overnight soaked Pebble Beach.
Then, officials decided to cancel the final round of the pro-am, meaning there would not be any amateurs competing. That was done to reduce the field – 68 pros made the cut – with hopes they could finish on Sunday.
Tee times were pushed back another hour to redo the pairings, then three more hours after wind continue to knock down tents and rain returned, forming puddles on some of the greens and in the bunkers.
But even with occasional bursts of sunshine in the morning, the attention shifted to the wind.
It was strong enough to knock down the Monterey pine – one of a half-dozen trees that keep players from cutting the corner of the dogleg on the 390-yard hole – and it blew over a small tower behind the 17th green used to measure shots with a laser.
The forecast was for gusts up to 45 mph Sunday afternoon, raising questions whether the ball would stay still on the green.
Johnson opened the tournament with a 65 at Pebble Beach, a score that would be unlikely in these conditions. Pebble Beach is the easiest of the three courses in calm conditions, the most difficult in the wind.
Mike Weir of Canada was four shots behind, with Retief Goosen another shot back.
The top 25 pro-am teams compete in the final round. The last time amateurs did not play on the final day of the tournament was in 1998, but there was a good reason – the final round was delayed nearly seventh months, finishing in August, because of rain.
Despite its reputation from what once was called “Crosby weather,” this is only the second time this decade that weather has interrupted the final round at Pebble Beach.