The Commercial Appeal
When storm hit, nothing to do but wait — for 3 hours
Caddies, spectators and tournament officials gathered wherever they could find shelter Sunday afternoon at the Fed-Ex St. Jude Classic, settling in for what turned out to be a three-hour weather delay.
Thunderstorms halted play at 1 p.m. and it didn’t resume until 4 p.m. It was about 7:40 p.m. when Daniel Berger captured the title, his first on the PGA Tour.
“Anytime you have a weather delay it’s never what you want to see as tournament director, especially on Sunday when we’re trying to wrap this thing up and get these guys off to Oakmont for the U.S. Open,” said tournament director Darrell Smith as the golfers were entering the final holes. “We are fortunate we get to play golf (after the delay) and the weather actually turned a little bit better than it was when we started. It kind of cooled down a little bit.”
Juan Carlos, on the bag for Alex Prugh, spent the majority of the delay checking in with family and friends back home in Texas. Weather delays are common in Carlos’ line of work, but he said you can’t let them affect your performance.
“You get hyped up and get ready to go mentally for the day’s work and then a rain delay like this happens,” he said. “You kind of have to just lay low, wait it out and recharge your batteries again.”
Dustin Johnson, who finished fifth, said he has grown accustomed to the delays throughout his career.
“I’ve been out here for nine years, so it’s happened to us quite a lot,” Johnson said. “You kind of figure out ways to deal with it.”
The delay clearly didn’t affect Johnson’s play, as he went on to shoot a 7-under 63 in the final round.
Berger’s caddie, Grant Berry, echoed Johnson’s sentiment, as inclement weather hit four of their last five tournaments. Although the conditions changed, Berry said the mentality stays the same.
“The course will play a bit longer,” Berry said. “It will be softer and slightly slower, but the warm-up, the routine will be no different.”
The delay didn’t scare away such fans as Kelly Verble, who made the trip from Hot Springs, Arkansas. Verble said leaving during the rain delay didn’t even cross his mind.
“Phil Mickelson is in the hunt. We have to stay for him,” he said.
Mickelson finished in a three-way tie for second.