Torrential rain has caused havoc at this week's LPGA event in the Bahamas.
Making the best out of an extremely challenging situation, the LPGA Tour and tournament officials today shortened Friday’s first round at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic to 12 holes with a new course routing that avoids several currently unplayable holes at the Ocean Club Golf Course.
Crews continue to work around the clock to remove water that currently covers parts of the ninth, 15th, 16th and 17th and 18th holes.
Officials plan to complete a minimum of 12 holes on both Saturday and Sunday and will reassess playable holes each day.
An LPGA tournament must complete 36 holes to be official. There will be no cut this week, but the top 70 players and ties will earn official money provided 36 holes are completed.
“When you have a situation like this, you bring everyone together that you trust and you make the decision,” said LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan. “It’s fair if someone doesn’t like the decision we made, but I think this outcome is a lot better than any other alternative. Everybody who plays the next three days will play the same course.”
Severe thunderstorms dropped more than a foot of rain on the Ocean Club over an eight hour span on Tuesday.
Due to the water remaining on the course, all players will tee off on the 10th hole during Friday’s first round and play a redeveloped routing as follows: 10-6-7-4-5-11-12-13-14-2-3-8. Revised pairings are attached and also available on LPGA.com.
“I think we need to try to play for Pure Silk and for Bahamas Tourism,” said LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member Juli Inkster. “This is something that has never happened before and it probably never will happen again. I think we should play, money should be official and everyone should get on with it.”
Players were informed of the tournament changes earlier today in a meeting at the clubhouse.
“There is good and bad to the situation and you have to decide if your glass is half full or half empty,” said Rolex Rankings No. 2 Stacy Lewis. “At the end of the day, we’ll all play the same holes, the same course and be scored the same way. That’s a golf tournament.”
“It’s all about your perspective on it,” Lewis continued. “If you go into it thinking, ‘this is dumb’ or ‘we shouldn’t play’ then you probably won’t play very well. I think, for the sponsors, we need to play. It’s a first year event and we need to get out there.”
Playing fewer than 18 holes is not unprecedented on the LPGA. At the 1989 Kemper Open, Betsy King and Jody Rosenthal each shot 2-under-par 63 on a 16-hole layout in the first round following heavy rains earlier in the week. The tournament completed 52 holes with King as the champion.
There have been 15 36-hole events since 1963 on the LPGA Tour. The most recent 36-hole tournament was the 2007 Hana Bank KOLON Championship, which was shortened from 54 holes to 36 following 50-plus mph winds during Sunday’s final round. Suzann Pettersen was declared the 36-hole champion.
According to Rule 3-1 in the Rules of Golf, a stroke-play competition consists of competitors completing each hole of a stipulated round or rounds, and for each round, returning a score card on which there is a gross score for each hole.
A stipulated round is defined as playing the holes of the course in their correct sequence, unless otherwise authorized by the Committee. The number of holes in a stipulated round is 18 unless a smaller number is authorized by the Committee.
In the instance of this week’s Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic, the Rules Committee has authorized the reduction in the number of holes in a stipulated round.