Scott Stallings — Getty ImagesIn a rather strange turn of events, the first round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions was canceled on Friday and all the scores wiped out due to a decision the USGA allows the tournament committee to decide.
The weather was atrociously bad at Kapalua on Friday, with winds gusting up to 50 miles per hour, and despite the fact that 24 of the 30 players in the field had teed off, tournament officials decided to cancel the first round, throwing all scores out and starting fresh on Saturday morning. The reason they can do this? A decision in the USGA handbook.
Rule 33-2d/1 states, "Generally, a round should be canceled only in a case where it would be grossly unfair not to cancel it. For example, if some competitors begin a round under extremely adverse weather conditions, conditions subsequently worsen and further play that day is impossible, it would be unfair to the competitors who started not to cancel the round."
Obviously this type of decision can benefit some that were struggling while hurting others that had it going despite the wind. Webb Simpson, our 2012 U.S. Open, was 3-under on the day, one of only two players under par, and told The Golf Channel after that, "it stinks for me," but understood why it had to happen.
On the flip side, Scott Stallings (pictured above, battling the conditions) was 7-over through four holes and was overjoyed that the round will be tossed out with a new start to the 2013 season's opening tournament happening on Saturday, where tournament officials hope to get in 36 holes by teeing players off both tees.
My thoughts? If the weather is this bad, it probably makes sense to pull everyone off and let them go at it another day. We don't have to deal with this much on the PGA Tour, but sometimes it's just unfair for guys that were out there having to battle in nasty conditions when others are still sitting inside yet to tee off. Conditions change in golf, that is always a factor, but when it's this bad, it is probably smart to pull the plug and allow everyone a fresh start.
So forget everything you saw on Friday. Forget the golf shots and the birdies and the names up and down the leaderboard. The PGA Tour really starts on January 5. Mother Nature knew this, she just failed to tell us until today.