JERSEY CITY, N.J. – Nine inches of rain.
That’s how much rainfall drenched Liberty National, site of the Northern Trust, since 7 p.m. ET on Saturday.
“Bad news is we had three times the amount of flood precipitation that was forecasted but the good news is we didn’t have the wind,” said PGA Tour rules official John Mutch. “So we didn’t have the damage on the structures or trees or anything like that.”
All that rain has left the grounds crew with plenty of work to do to prep the course. Tee times, originally scheduled to begin at 7:30 ET, have been pushed back four hours.
“Now we are just pushing water. The bunkers have all been repaired. The maintenance staff has done an incredible job. They have worked through the night as has all the ops team and everyone else,” said Mutch. “So we plan to start at 11:30 today. It’s going to continue to dry. Fairways are remarkably good for nine inches of rain but obviously it is wet.”
As a result, the final round of the first leg of the FedEx Cup will be played under preferred lies.
“These fairways are all sand capped so that’s helped us a lot. This golf course is built on sand. It’s a links style course, right on the Hudson, so it does drain well,” Mutch said. “Also what hurt us a little bit is we had high tide this morning and a full moon last night. So it all kind of works together.”
Mutch also confirmed that the course can’t take on any more water.
“We have definitely reached field capacity. But as the tide goes out, so will the ponds drain, and right now the forecast is pretty good for next four to six hours. We have some chance of something hitting us tonight, some embedded cells. I’m being optimistic and hoping that that doesn’t happen,” he said. “If it does happen, the meteorologist thinks we can get up to an inch. But after that from that point on, we don’t have any predicted rain.”
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Another band of storms could roll through beginning around 3 p.m., but by 7 o’clock the Tour’s meteorologist predicts the storm will have headed east of the course. Regardless of the fact, the plan is to play on until 72 holes is completed, even if that means returning to finish on Tuesday, per a modification in the tournament rules that was rubber-stamped by PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan.
“Yesterday evening we had a call, and because of the importance of the FedExCup and how these tournaments are linked to each other, one to the next and then to the next and finally to East Lake, it’s paramount in his view, and our view, that we play 72 holes. And that we do everything in our power to get 72 holes in,” Mutch said. “Like I said, we have a good forecast for Tuesday, and if we don’t get hit by anything tonight, we’ll have it done tonight.”