Play at the 2020 Masters has been suspended due to inclement weather. Hey, that’s the only way a Masters this year was going to start, right?
After a 10-minute delay due to fog that saw the round start slow, groups went off of the first and 10th tees as intended, but the horn blew after just 26 minutes into play due to inclement weather, including rain and thunder. Golfers were taken off the course.
Thankfully, though there were concerns of multiple weather delays through the long weekend, those have somewhat dissipated as Round 1 begins. Rain and weather will be in the area for the rest of the early morning, so we could be looking at a semi-extended pause from playing Round 1, but the radar looks fairly clear from lunch on Thursday through Sunday night.
However, there are problems. Because the windows for play are so small (due to of daylight savings time), any significant delay could push the entire event into Monday. That seems unlikely as long as this initial delay doesn’t last too long, especially with small windows of time to get golf in early on Saturday and Sunday morning.
This will create unique scenarios for golfers the rest of the way. Those out on the course or about to go out will have to warm all the way back up, and those with late Thursday (and early Friday) tee times could end up playing around 30 holes on Friday. A unique Masters just became even more because of this Thursday morning weather delay.
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There are a handful of different problems that rain might pose on the course. The first is that a fairly soft course stands to get even softer if and when it pours. This will help the longest golfers in the field to an even bigger advantage as the week wears on. The second problem is that, due to limited daylight, inclement weather could bump the end of this tournament.
It does seem that Augusta National has both expected and prepared for these situations.
“It looks like some of the greens have a little bit of that kind of browning where it’s starting to firm up already,” said 2015 champion Jordan Spieth. “Maybe just preparing for potentially some water coming in Wednesday and Thursday. But I haven’t seen that kind of color on these greens other than 2014 and 2016, I want to say, the two years where it played really firm. That certainly makes a big difference on how precise you have to be in not only the ball flight that you use as far as the curve on it, but how high you hit it too.”
There are other things they obviously cannot control, though. And this is another problem.
“If it’s wet — obviously we’re prepared and we’ve played in tough conditions — but a golf course that requires precision like this one does, especially hitting into the greens, if there’s mud on the ball, this is very, very difficult because you lose control of the ball flight,” said 2013 champion Adam Scott. “And when you have very small targets at times to hit into, and you don’t know where the ball may go, it’s very hard.”
The last issue is that the grass at Augusta National is a bit thicker than normal this year, according to Spieth. It will be interesting to see how rain affects this. How it changes a turf that’s already a bit different than what players are used to.