NAPA, Calif. – Based on the weather forecast, you might not want to “bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there’ll be sun.”
PGA Tour pros woke up to one of the strangest skies in recent memory, a heavy marine-layer mixed with smoke and ash that was straight out of “Apocalypse Now.” The bright lights still were shining at the driving range at 10 a.m., as the sky turned brilliant shades of yellow and orange.
“Just strange. I mean, waking up and it was like the sun just wouldn’t come up today it felt like. It was dark for a long time,” Jim Furyk said. “When there was a touch of light, the sky’s just been a really awkward yellowish-grayish color. There was about a 20-minute window this morning where it was quite red, where you couldn’t really grab a picture of it on your phone, but I saw one of the photographers show me and a couple players the camera work that he got out of it and it was stunning actually. The picture was quite impressive. But it’s been — it just hasn’t felt real, that’s the best — a little bit like you’re on a movie set, to be honest with you.”
It felt like the movie set for a re-make of “Mars Attacks.” The iPhone forecast called the weather here “smoke,” and ash floated in the air and left a thin film in the Silverado Resort swimming pool. The air smelled like a campfire, and the temperature dropped more than 30 degrees from triple digits to barely cracking 70 degrees.
It’s “raining ash” here in Novato which is about 40 minutes away https://t.co/gZQE0kdrrm
— Parker McLachlin (@ParkerMcLachlin) September 9, 2020
Wildfires are raging throughout Northern California in parts of Fresno and Big Sur as well as parts of Oregon and Washington. It was just a few weeks ago that destructive blazes near populated areas of wine country threatened the viability of hosting the tournament.
Sergio Garcia compared the sky to playing in the Australian Open in December, when bushfires near Sydney caused havoc and complaints of burning eyes and coughing fits.
“It’s very similar to that. I guess it was a little bit dark throughout the day today, but it’s kind of like a combination of clouds and smoke and, you know, a little bit of ash and stuff,” Garcia said. “But, you know, they’re saying that the winds are supposed to kind of change, start from the south and it should blow all of these away and then it will be fine. But today was definitely a little bit cooler than it’s been and a little bit darker throughout the practice round.”
Kevin Chappell, who hails from Fresno, had similar fires on his mind, although they’re burning southeast of Napa. He pledged to pony up $250 for every birdie and $500 for any eagle made this week to the Red Cross Creek Fire fund, which he announced via social media.