What was THAT?
The morning groups got about halfway through their rounds (some playing as many as 15 holes) before rain halted play around noontime. Just before ESPN2 went off the air, it was announced that today’s play was suspended and Round Two will be played in its entirety tomorrow. You read that right – all holes played today will be wiped out and the field starts Saturday as it stood at the end of Thursday, and the event will now be 54 holes.
That’s bulls—t. These players were -2 on the day when play was stopped: Catriona Matthew (-6 overall and tied for the lead), Michele Redman, Meaghan Francella, Alena Sharp, and Kate Golden, who had climbed to within two shots of the current cut line. Rachel Hetherington was -1 and tied for the lead through seven holes. A lot of players were over par today and I’m sure they welcome the resetting of scores but…
If shortening the event is necessary, why not just resume tomorrow about the same time play was stopped today with the players already on the course picking up where they left off. The LPGA did a similar thing in Korea back in October when the final round couldn’t be completed (they reverted to the standings from the previous day) but that was because the course was so unplayable that they realized they wouldn’t have been able to play on Monday either. The Sybase will be playing tomorrow and there is simply NO excuse to wipe out today’s scoring.
UPDATE: Ok, there IS an excuse. Since the round was not started with lift-clean-place rules in effect, the LPGA decided that the fair thing to do was to wipe it all out and start over Saturday morning with LCP. Larry says he didn't hear one complaint about it from the players. I'm all for being fair although like The Constructivist says, this doesn't ever come into play on those occasions when the morning groups have no wind to deal with and the afternoon groups fight gusts.
I didn't say the excuse is a good one. They got into this mess because they didn't declare LCP yesterday morning even though there was a 100% chance of rain. I'm sitting behind a keyboard in Atlanta, GA and I knew the chance of playing without interruption Friday was negligible. Stating after the fact that the forecast didn't call for as much rain as they got is bogus, given that the forecast they had called for at least half an inch. When these rounds take 12+ hours to get in, you have to err on the safe side and be fair to the players BEFORE the fact.
And don't ever tell me that television considerations had no bearing on a decision to shorten an event so that it can end on Sunday.
UPDATE 2: The LPGA is developing a pattern. They've made a series of decisions at one event and then another which gives them a ready-made precedent for whatever CYA manuever they need to pull in the future. Accidentally screwed the players by not declaring lift-clean-place before a round that gets postponed by rain? Just use the "Wipe The Scores and Start Over Tomorrow" precedent we set at Michelob a couple of years ago. Bury all of the other examples of where the situation was handled differently. Need to be in Sweden by Tuesday night and you don't want to let them finish a rain-delayed event on Monday? Just cancel the whole damn thing and tell us it never happened. Tell me - did some of those NASCAR officials I use to wail about relocate to a different part of Daytona Beach?