RBC Heritage

Wet Tuesday at Harbour Town, but first round looks OK for RBC Heritage

ksalter@islandpacket.comApril 16, 2014 

Rain washed out some of Tuesday's festivities in the buildup to the RBC Heritage presented by Boeing, which tees off Thursday.

The wet weather truncated or canceled practice rounds in the morning at Harbour Town Golf Links. Players, spectators and staff were ordered off the course twice, first just after 9 a.m. and again shortly before noon.

Stewart Williams, the on-site meteorologist for the PGA Tour, said he was spending his morning tracking weather systems and looking out for lightning in the area. One of his main concerns is ensuring the safety of players and spectators.

"The biggest concern is the lightning aspect," Williams said. "If it's just rain, we'll play through as long as the course allows us to."

That means making sure the greens and fairways remain puddle-free. Once less-than-ideal weather strikes, it's all a matter of how much the course can absorb -- sometimes literally.

"The course will dictate how we can play," Williams said, adding that tomorrow's chilly forecast does provide some benefits. "Having the wind and the sunshine, the course should dry out pretty quick. It may not be as firm and as fast as they probably want it to be."

Course superintendent Jonathan Wright is charged with getting Harbour Town into the best possible condition for the tournament. Wright said a little precipitation may not be so bad.

"Honestly, for me, a little bit of rain is welcome," Wright said. "Having this moisture in the ground kind of takes things out of our hands as far as regulating moisture on the golf course for the tournament."

Wright said the course will drain well. Wednesday's forecast calls for winds between 10 to 15 mph, which will help with one problem that plagued grounds crew members last year.

"A lot of the pollen sacks from the oaks are just starting to fall this week, kind of like last year," Wright said. "We had to blow greens off after every single group when it got windy, so hopefully this wind will help us clean some things out of the trees so we can get it all picked up."

Tournament director Steve Wilmot said the rain meant some players who planned practice rounds for Tuesday may have been unable to complete their full regimen, as only 52 will participate in Wednesday's pro-am.

"It was pretty busy early this morning because they knew the weather was coming," Wilmot said. "They wanted to at least get nine holes in."

Tuesday's Coca-Cola Youth Day Kids Putt with the Pros was canceled due to the weather.

Williams said there could be more showers Friday night and early Saturday morning, but the forecast for Sunday's final round calls for mostly sunny conditions, free of Tuesday's deluges.

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