EDISON, N.J.—The Barclays will be a 54-hole tournament this year, ending on Saturday, and early on Saturday at that.
PGA Tour officials announced Friday afternoon that, because of Hurricane Irene’s approach, tee times for the third round will be moved up significantly Saturday, with the hope of getting at least the third round completed. There is no way the tour even will try to begin a fourth round.
Slugger White, vice president of rules and competitions for the PGA Tour, said it was a matter of safety and golf course condition that caused officials to reduce the length of the first leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs. Given the expected severity of the storm, and the likelihood of power outages and downed trees, there would be no way to hold a final round Monday. And the Plainfield Country Club course could not withstand another six or seven inches of rain and be prepared to hold a fourth round on Tuesday.
So this year’s Barclays will be the first in the brief history of the tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs to be less than 72 holes.
Peter Mele, the tournament director, said decision makers also were concerned about keeping hundreds of volunteers around through Monday or Tuesday when they need to be home, taking care of their families and property.
He said that anyone with Sunday tickets to the sold-out event can redeem them for an equal number of tickets, good any day, at the 2012 Barclays at Bethpage Black.
“It makes you want to cry,” Mele said, “because of all the effort that went into it and all the energy that surrounded this event, going into the week. It was going to be the best Barclays we’ve ever had.”
Mele alluded to the crowd on the course Friday—a calm, sunny day marked by lots of good scoring by the golfers—and said, “You can see today what this week would have been.”
On the chance that even the Saturday round cannot be completed, White said that the tournament would be considered done after 36 holes, and the results will be applied to the remainder of the FedEx Cup playoffs. The playoffs rely on a points system that eliminates a number of players after each round.