Weather finally passes; PLAYERS concludes today

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Mercifully, the first two rounds of THE PLAYERS came to a conclusion on Sunday after three and a half days. The first two rounds should have finished on Friday, but it was an endless morass of rain delays, squeegee delays, thunderstorm delays and traffic delays. As one of the guys in the press center likes to say, “Major Delays reporting for duty, sir.”

But by Sunday, at least we had leaders, Sam Burns and Tom Hoge, who are not yet well known. Then the third round started, and we finally had a golf tournament. And players had a variety of opinions on it.

Paul Casey put it best.

“I don't know if I've ever had two full days off at a tournament. How would I characterize it? It's been weird,” he said. “Leaderboard hasn't even started to shape up yet. I think like I've got lucky that a few guys have been spat out just because of the draw, and that makes it a little easier to look at in terms of people I've got to beat.”

Jon Rahm thought maybe they shouldn’t have played on Saturday.

“I was on the good side of the draw,” he said. “I'm one of those who believes that if this wasn't THE PLAYERS Championship, we would have not played yesterday (Saturday). I don't know if they should have.”

“It's just been odd,” Tommy Fleetwood noted. “I've never been part of a tournament that's had delays like this, and it's just strange how long the week feels, and it's actually not been that long. You're just still in a regular tournament day here, we're still on a Sunday, it just feels like it's been longer.”

Rory McIlroy made the cut on the number. He played in the worst weather on Saturday.

“It was very tough,” he said. “The front nine was a little more sheltered so it probably didn't play quite as tough. But some of those holes on the back nine are so exposed, like 16, 17, 18, it's brutal out there. Hitting those tee shots on 17 and 18 and just keeping them dry and walking forward is nice.”

He said the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black was the only similar weather delay he could recall. 

As far as the difficulty of the wind, here is an example, also from McIlroy on Saturday:

“I hit a 7-iron today that pitched 123 or 124, and my 7-iron goes between 185 and 190. So, playing 60 yards of wind,” he said.

Sunday’s best shot was by Shane Lowry who had a hole-in-one on the 17th.

Speaking of the 17th, through two rounds, there were 47 balls in the water on that hole, which is more than some entire tournaments.

There were also 50 balls in the water on the 18th which set a new record. The previous number was 43.  

The final round will take place Monday, March 14, and the finish is expected to be at approximately 6:30 p.m.

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