Ryder Cup Delayed Due to Heavy Rain at Celtic Manor
The Ryder Cup got off to a wet start on Friday morning, with overnight rain soaking Celtic Manor in Newport, Wales. After all the early session groups teed off in fourball play between the United States and Europe, action was suspended just after two hours of play as the course was finally deemed unplayable. Large puddles encompassed the entire course and event officials had trouble clearing the water as rain fell steadily.
European captain Colin Montgomerie described the conditions as "absolutely awful" on ESPN's telecast.
Crew officials were squeegeeing the greens for players, while the American team's rain suits continually bothered players as the heavy rain penetrated right through the material.
When play was suspended, only one of the four American fourball groups controlled play with a lead. The last pairing to tee off -- Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton -- are 2-up through two holes over Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington. Overton holed an amazing birdie putt from well off the green on the first hole to seize momentum in their match.
The Europeans are leading the other three fourball matches as Martin Kaymer and Lee Westwood are 2-up over Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson through five holes. Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell are 1-up over Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar through four holes while Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher are 1-up over Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker through three holes.
The course was so soaked to begin the day, officials allowed players to use preferred lies -- meaning players are allowed to pick up, clean and place their golf balls back in play. However, the rain and conditions worsened as time progressed, eventually suspending play and increasing the possibility that play will extend to Monday.
Tournament officials are monitoring the weather and have yet to declare when the action will restart. It is not likely players will be able to finish the afternoon's scheduled foursomes on Friday, but they are hopeful to finish the morning's fourball.
According to ESPN's Mike Tirico, there will not be any play until at least 7 a.m. ET.
Chief referee John Paramor noted that tournament officials will make an announcement around noon local time in Wales regarding plans on when play will restart.
"We probably need about an hour of pushing water to make it better than it was when we started," Paramor said in an interview on Sky Sports. "That's our goal and we feel we'll have a better idea at midday - and hopefully some good news. The players were hitting the fairway and finding their nearest point of relief was in the heavy rough - and that's unfair."
Update: Play continued at approximately 12:00 p.m. ET (5:00 p.m. local time in Wales). There is no rain in the forecast for the remainder of the day and players will resume until darkness at approximately 1:51 p.m. ET (6:51 BST).
Update: Play is scheduled to continue at 12:00 p.m. ET (5:00 p.m. local time in Wales) after an approximate seven-hour, fifteen-minute delay.
Update: As of 9:15 a.m ET, play is still suspended due to inclement weather. It will not resume until at least 11:00 am ET.