FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Hopefully there won’t be any cries of “fore,” but the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial is finally underway. Tee times were pushed back more than three hours after downpours caused a rain delay.
With tee times formerly set to begin at 7 a.m. there were a number of players at the golf course early, but they didn’t pack up. “The guys that are here they just hang out. I mean they’re professional golfers, they’ve done this before,” Tournament director Michael Tothe said. “The Tour now communicates with players directly on when start times may be, but as of right now we’re sort of delayed.”
Fans weren’t deterred either. When the rain stopped falling there was no shortage of fans watching the action. McKinney dad Alex Glushko drove in the early morning rain with his 5-year-old son. He said he just didn’t want to miss a second of the Colonial. “I got my son with me. It’s his first time to a pro tournament, so even though they are not playing we can spent time together. That’s what its’ all about anyways. Once the players come that will just be a bonus.”
Tothe was encouraged by the break in the weather and the enthusiasm of faithful golf fans. “I think people just want to get out and that’s what’s great about North Texas and our fans. People just want to get out and come and enjoy some golf.”
Before the delay, defending champ Adam Scott was scheduled to tee off at 8:06 a.m. His new tee time is 11:06 a.m. Then hometown star Jordan Spieth was to tee off at 12:56 p.m. The recent Masters winner will now tee off at 3:56 p.m.
More than an inch of rain fell on the greens of the Colonial. Tothe announced the delay around 6:30 a.m., after meeting with PGA Tour officials. “Safety is paramount. We’ve had electricity in the area [and] we’ve taken on a lot of rain very, very quickly,” he said. “Once we know we’re in the clear with electricity, and then our agronomy team has the time to evaluate the golf course, then we’ll make a decision on when we’re able to place some golf today.”
Normally it only takes a matter of minutes to prepare the course after a rain delay. But the weather in North Texas has been anything but normal. Tothe said, “But as you know we’ve had a lot of rain over the last 10 days. We’re working closely with the PGA Tour and their meteorologist team on the ground here.”
After it stopped raining ground crews quickly moved through with blowers and squeegees, removing water and puddles from the course.
With Spieth onboard, tickets sales and interest in the event soared. Whenever the 21-year-old steps up to the teebox he’ll no doubt get the biggest and loudest welcome.
Colonial officials say they will play golf until dusk, around eight o’clock tonight.
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