High winds caused extensive damage today to all three courses being used for the Humana Challenge golf tournament, leading to suspension of third round play.
The damage was most severe at the La Quinta Country Club, according to a tournament official.
“It’s really bad,” Slugger White, the PGA Tour’s vice president of rules and competitions, said at a news conference.
“They’ve got a lot of trees down. We’re sending a crew with some chainsaws to cut the trees that are down and take them away, so it’s a mess. It’s a real mess.”
White said the initial forecasts were for winds of 10 mph to 20 mph, with gusts up to 25 mph, which would have allowed play to continue.
Then “the bottom just fell out on us,” White said. White said he knew there was a problem when he received a call from the La Quinta Country Club that “trees were blowing down,” portable toilets “were all over the place and balls wouldn’t stay on the greens.”
Former President Bill Clinton was on the 10th fairway of the Palmer Private Course at PGA West in La Quinta when play was suspended, White said. Clinton, who did not play in either of the first two rounds, was playing in a foursome that also included World Golf Hall of Fame member Greg Norman, Humana Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mike McCallister and three-time PGA Tour winner Scott McCarron, a La Quinta resident.
The pro-am section of the tournament is now final, reverting to three separate competitions of 36 holes each, determined by the courses played.
Professionals are scheduled to resume the third round at 7:30 a.m. Sunday. Approximate tee times for the fourth and final round will be from 10 a.m. to noon off both the first and 10th tees.
This is the first time wind has caused suspension of a PGA Tour event since the 2009 Shell Houston Open, according to a PGA Tour official.
The last time wind caused a suspension of play at this tournament, formerly known as the Bob Hope Classic, came in the second round 1999 when there was a one-hour delay due to 45 mph winds in the morning.
All Saturday tickets will be honored Sunday, tournament officials announced.
Mark Wilson holds a three-shot lead over Ben Crane. Wilson was shot a five-under-par round through 15 holes at La Quinta Country Club when play was suspended, putting him at 21-under-par for the tournament. Crane was at two- under-par through 12 holes, also at La Quinta Country Club, when play was suspended, and 18-under-par for the tournament.