Players Championship: TPC Sawgrass event to finish on Monday

Rory McIlroy and caddy Harry Diamond in the rain at TPC Sawgrass
Rory McIlroy looked set to finish his first round before conditions became unplayable while he was on the 16th
-6 T Fleetwood (Eng), T Hoge (US), B Garnett (US)*; -5 K Hickok (US), J Niemann (Chi), K Mitchell (US), A Lahiri (Ind), D Berger (US)*
Selected: -4 D Johnson (US)*, S Scheffler (US)*; -3 J Rahm (Spa), B Koepka (US)*; -2 P Casey (Eng), T Hatton (Eng), J Rose (Eng)*, J Thomas (US)*; -1 R Knox (Sco); E M Laird (Sco), C Morikawa (US)*; +1 R McIlroy (NI)*, J Thomas (US)*, I Poulter (Eng)
* denotes yet to complete round one

The Players Championship will “finish on Monday” after heavy rain and storms wrecked the first two days of the PGA Tour’s $20m flagship tournament.

Round one is yet to be completed and Friday’s play was suspended for the day at 15:00 (20:00 GMT); with further storms forecast, play will resume “no earlier than 11:00 on Saturday”.

The TPC Sawgrass course in Florida has been deluged by three inches of rain.

England’s Tommy Fleetwood and American Tom Hoge lead on six under par.

They finished their rounds as scheduled on Thursday, although more than five hours of play was lost to rain and storms, with fans evacuated from the course.

Just four hours of play was possible on Friday with play initially suspended at 11:15 local time and spectators again told to leave with thunderstorms rolling in to this area of ​​north-eastern Florida.

A total of 47 players are yet to complete their opening rounds.

When asked if the event could finish on Tuesday, Gary Young, the championship’s chief referee, replied: “We feel confident we will conclude the tournament on Monday.”

Young confirmed that the usual top 65 players, plus ties, would make the cut after round two but given the later start on Saturday, round three would not be concluded until Monday.

He added it was “just bad luck” that the area was experiencing a prolonged weather pattern like this at this time of year.

The tournament has finished on a Monday seven times in its 48-year-history. The first three were before the event moved to the purpose-built stadium course at TPC Sawgrass in 1982, but all have happened in March, with the last time being in 2005.

It was moved to May in 2007 as part of a restructuring of the PGA Tour season and then shifted back to March in 2019 to accommodate the moving of the US PGA Championship from August to May.

Out on the course, the marquee group of Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa were among those playing through the rain on Friday morning. They resumed their rounds on the third hole and had reached the 16th when play was halted.

Northern Ireland’s McIlroy, who birdied his first two holes in dry conditions, dropped three shots as the rain came in and he is one over par with three to play.

Defending champion Thomas picked up three birdies in the worst of the conditions and is at two under, while Open winner Morikawa is at level par.

In an effort to keep the players out on the course, greenkeepers were using huge squeegee mops to clear standing water off the greens but eventually had to admit defeat.

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