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McCollum's Column: Watching it rain no fun for golfers in Memphis

Posted: June 7, 2014 - 8:45am

It is a major irritation and a waste of time to sit about a golf course and watch it rain.

Few things are more yucky than having to scurry off a golf course in torrential rain.

Unfortunately, the FedEx St. Jude Classic this week in Memphis has turned into the St. Jude Regatta.

Normally, I spend a day or two this time of year visiting friends in Memphis and watching and reporting on professional golf.

I passed up the trip this year. Conway’s Bryce Molder was not in the field and there was great potential for major traffic hassle on I-40. An ominous weather forecast (pretty irritating to be stuck in traffic in a downpour and I can watch it rain at home) didn’t make it worth the while this year.

Good decision.

Thursday afternoon, after storms hit forcing a major weather delay, tournament officials at TPC Southwind cleared the course of everyone but players and official personnel. No galleries.

Friday, there were two major weather delays before play was called off for the day shortly before 6. After one delay, golfers were only on the course about 15 minutes before a horn blared and they were called back into the clubhouse.

“Don’t call us out if you’re going to call us right back in,” Phil Mickelson was heard to mutter.

Golf is about rhythm and rhythm was almost impossible in this game of “watch the clouds and beat the storm.”

For Saturday’s play, officials closed a large major parking lot, which is basically a pasture, which easily turns into a swamp on rainy afternoon.

Bog is a good word.

Going into Saturday morning, the tournament was really bogged down.

Saturday morning was supposed to be the start of the third round.

On Saturday morning, only 32 players in the 153-player field had completed the second round.

Worse, by Saturday morning, 54 golfers had not even teed off for the second round.

Challenging logistics, to say the least.

Golfers don’t want a hard week — particularly one with potentially long intense play on Sunday — the week before the U.S. Open.

The threat of thunderstorms keeps a lot of spectators away. It hurts vendors.

The FedEx is a well-run tournament that benefits St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Many golfers make it an annual tour stop just to help sick children and the wonderful research that goes on at the hospital.

Waves of thunderstorms that produce a washout is a real annoyance to golfers and spectators. A loss of revenue from small galleries is a setback for the kids.

But none can do anything about the weather but complain.

Bummer.

(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 501-505-1235 or david.mccollum@thecabin.net or follow him on twitter @dmaclcd)

 

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