Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Being from the East Coast, I have a rather
simplistic notion of the Arizona climate.
I picture heat. Dry heat. Skin-leathering heat. Throw in a coyote, a cactus
and some adobe and you have my version of Arizona.
Like I said, simplistic.
What I don't picture is snow. Lots of snow. Sideways snow. Enough snow to
imperil a PGA Tour event.
But that's exactly what the WGC - Accenture Match Play Championship got on
Wednesday when a mini-blizzard descended on the Golf Club at Dove Mountain,
dropping over 1 1/2 inches of play-halting powder on the Marana, Ariz., resort.
Not a single match was completed before the opening round was suspended, and
22 golfers, including Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Luke Donald and Louis
Oosthuizen, didn't even make it to the tee.
"It's absolutely remarkable to think one minute we're playing golf, and then
within a space of 25 minutes, it turns from playable to cold drizzle to sleet
and to snow," said England's Ian Poulter, who at one point refused to putt on
an icy green. "It's just bizarre."
Organizers are optimistic that a Sunday finish is still possible, with PGA
Tour meteorologist Stewart Williams saying he "thinks the worst of the snow is
probably over for us now." But Sunday finish or not, the bizarre conditions
seem avoidable and unnecessary.
Let's keep in mind, this isn't the first time winter weather has hampered play
at this event.
In 2011, about an inch of snow fell before the final-round showdown between
Donald and Martin Kaymer. The match started on time, but play was briefly
delayed when sleet descended on Jack Nicklaus-designed Dove Mountain.
"A couple of years ago, I know that it snowed the final round here," Jason Day
said Wednesday. "I've never actually played golf to the point where we've
actually stopped for snow, which is kind of crazy. A little crazy for it to
snow in the desert, as well. But that's just how it is. Mother Nature can just
do whatever she wants."
Yes, Jason, Mother Nature is uncontrollable, but that doesn't mean we can't
adjust to avoid her fickle whims.
According to last May's press release, The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain and the
PGA Tour only have an agreement through this year's event. In the release, the
Tour's executive vice president of championship management, David Pillsbury,
stated that "We're excited to continue the long-standing tradition of world-
class golf in this marketplace at least through 2014," but he didn't specify
Dove Mountain as the 2014 host.
Regardless, it's time to make a change in the coming years.
The PGA Tour's winter stretch is designed to maximize optimal playing
conditions while a significant portion of the country is still bringing a six-
pack to the nearest indoor golf simulator. Hell, the Tour doesn't even sniff
my neck of the woods until at least May, and that's the way it should be.
On Wednesday, guys had fun with the situation. Rickie Fowler had a snowball
fight in the parking lot, and a slew of players took to Twitter and Instagram
to document the wonderland.
It's always fun to see your favorite athletes with their guard down, but it's
even more fun to see them do what they do best. In this case, what they do
best is play golf, so let's get this event to a place where they can do just
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