Well, this year anyway.
Does anyone remember something like this happening before? It is hard to imagine that keeping thirty players and a pro-am off the East Lake greens could make that big of a difference, but it's admirable of the Tour for trying everything it can to ensure good uh, Super Bowl conditions. A ban on spikes would have been nice too.
From the PGA Tour:
Practice rounds restricted, pro-am canceled at THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola to ensure best possible playing conditions for tournament
Course closed to public until Thursday, tickets to be honored
ATLANTA, Sept. 9, 2007 – As a result of severe heat and drought in the Atlanta area this summer, the bentgrass putting green conditions at East Lake Golf Club, site of next week’s TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola, have suffered. In order to present the best possible playing conditions for THE TOUR Championship, the final event in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, tournament officials and the PGA TOUR have restricted the players’ practice rounds and canceled Wednesday’s pro-am.
“We are working diligently to improve and present the golf course in the best condition possible for next week’s tournament,” said Henry Hughes, executive vice president and chief operating officer, PGA TOUR. “While restricting players’ practice rounds and canceling the pro-am is not an ideal scenario, we felt this was the best decision in order to allow us a few more days to prepare the greens for the event.
“The weather has improved this past week, and the forecast is for continued good weather through Wednesday, allowing for additional growth and recovery of the bentgrass. Despite the challenges, we are confident that THE TOUR
Championship will provide an exciting, dramatic culmination to the FedExCup season.”
With the course closed to the public until Thursday, all Tuesday and Wednesday tickets will be honored Thursday through Sunday. The tournament will staff the general parking lot at Turner Field to exchange spectators’ tickets, as well as add additional volunteers and staff to the admission gate on-site.
All Tuesday and Wednesday tickets that are marked “Clubhouse” or “Delta Crown Room Championship Club” will be honored; however, those will be exchanged for GROUND tickets. These tickets were only sold on a weekly basis, and therefore, those purchasers will also have a ticket that they can use for Thursday - Sunday.
Restricted practice rounds
Players will not be permitted to practice on the greens at East Lake Golf Club, although they and their caddies can walk the course Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, hit drives on par 4s and par 5s and approach shots on par 5s if they do not reach the greens. The driving range, putting green and short game practice area at East Lake Golf Club will be available to players all week.
Despite the cancellation, tournament officials have scheduled activities for Wednesday to bring a unique and worthwhile experience to pro-am participants. All 30 players in THE TOUR Championship field will honor their commitment to the pro-am by participating in a Q&A session in the morning, followed by the “Ultimate TOUR Clinic,” in which amateurs will
cycle through three stations with PGA TOUR professionals for tips and instruction in driving, chipping and putting. The day will conclude for amateurs at a luncheon and additional Q&A session with the TOUR players.
East Lake greens, Atlanta weather
The strain of grass at East Lake Golf Club is Crenshaw creeping bentgrass. It was introduced in the Southeast in the 1990s and offers a superb putting surface most of the year, but when temperatures reach the 90s, the greens can be susceptible to more diseases, shorter roots and dry spots.
During the month of August, Atlanta reported record temperatures of 90-plus degrees for 28 days, including 10-straight days with temperatures reaching or exceeding 100 degrees.
The average daily high in Atlanta in August was 96.5 degrees, compared to a normal average of 87.9, and the average daily low was 75.2, compared to a normal average of 69.9. New high-temperature records in Atlanta were set
on nine days last month. The area experienced 25 consecutive days without rain, and year-to-date rainfall is at 20.90 inches, a deficit of 17.84 inches compared to average rainfall totals.
Plans for 2008
Although weather patterns may improve in future years, the PGA TOUR has reached an agreement with East Lake Golf Club to replace the bentgrass greens with Bermuda grass before the 2008 TOUR Championship.