Heavy rain creates issues at final round of PGA Championship

Downpours lead to a nearly two-hour delay in start of final round of PGA Championship

After torrential downpours did their work Sunday at Valhalla Golf Club, course officials and volunteers did theirs.

They moved more water than a filtration plant with squeegees and even towels on tee boxes. After a 1 hour, 51-minute delay thanks to the inch of rain that fell in less than an hour, nine- rather than 10-minute intervals were used between the remaining tee times.

But for all their efforts, players still had questions.

"I had to get a canoe to get in," the always outspoken Ian Poulter said of the conditions. "I mean, c'mon."

Poulter said he believed the restart came too soon.

"We pretty much took relief on every fairway," he said. "Twice we had to take relief from the fairway into the rough to get a dry spot."

Most casual water had disappeared by the time the leaders teed off as late as 4:19 p.m. Eastern time, 84 minutes later than originally scheduled. But again, as with most all major championships, PGA of America officials opted not to use "lift, clean and place" rules.

"It was unplayable this morning," Graeme McDowell said. "The ball should've been played up, simple. ... Common sense has to prevail at some point. You go out to a PGA Tour event and we wouldn't have been playing if lift, clean and place hadn't been implemented."


Rory McIlroy thanked Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler for their "class and sportsmanship" in allowing his final group to hit up on the 72nd hole, saying the round wouldn't have been completed if they hadn't.

"We were cool with [them] hitting the tee shot," Fowler said. "We weren't expecting the approach shots."

McIlroy said he even suggested playing No. 18 as a foursome.

"It's not a big deal," Mickelson said of the odd finish.

Ryder review

Poulter, one of Europe's most clutch Ryder Cup performers, hasn't yet qualified but dismissed Europe's rare status as favorite because of injuries to Tiger Woods and Jason Dufner and Dustin Johnson's leave of absence.  The top nine in the U.S. standings automatically qualify. Mickelson, Patrick Reed and Zach Johnson locked up spots Sunday as Dufner dropped out. 

"It's the Ryder Cup," Poulter said. "We've seen guys demolish people who are much higher than them in the world rankings. Guys are going to play with passion and both teams will fight really hard."


Playing in the final group of a major for his first time, Austrian Bernd Wiesberger closed with a three-over 74 to drop from one shot off the lead entering to a tie for 15th. ... The crowd serenaded Kenny Perry several times with renditions of "Happy Birthday" as the Kentucky native turned 54. Perry shot 68 to finish six under. ... Hall of Fame wide receiver Lynn Swann, a member of the PGA of America's board, helped dry out one of the soaked tee boxes with a towel.


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