Thursday, March 11
It’s Raining Cats, Dogs and Iguanas at the Puerto Rico Open
(Photo courtesy of Rob Hayashida of Golf Views)
ARMCHAIR GOLF is in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, for the Puerto Rico Open.
THE AVERAGE RAINFALL in Puerto Rico in March is about an inch. My question is, “Which March?” It’s raining cats, dogs and iguanas in Rio Grande, site of the 2010 Puerto Rico Open. Six inches of rain have fallen today as of 2 p.m. As torrents of rain continue to fall, play has been suspended until 7:15 a.m. on Friday. The plan is to play 18 on Friday, 18 on Saturday, and 36 on Sunday.
A frontal boundary—that’s weather talk I’ve picked up—has stalled over the area. The weather forecast calls for a 30 percent chance of showers on Friday. The weather is supposed to improve thereafter. But I can’t help but wonder if the weatherman is running scared now. I would be.
A few early groups teed off before the first round was suspended, playing one or two holes. Skip Kendall is the leader at 2 under. Kendall holed a 7-iron from 159 yards for a deuce on the par-4 10th. Nice start, Skip. Only 71 holes to go.
Unfortunately, I have not seen much of the golf course yet due to the weather conditions. But, at 7,526 yards, I can tell you Trump International is one of the longest tracks on the PGA Tour. In the media room, a few of us wondered how well the course will drain and dry out. Regardless, an already lengthy course has become even longer as a result of the heavy precipitation.
It’s been a rainy season on the PGA Tour. There were eight 2009 events during which preferred lies were played. There have already been five in 2010. In addition, the Puerto Rico Open is the sixth tournament this season to have a suspension of play. And it’s only March.
Pass the umbrellas, raingear and bucket hats. It’s a wet one.
On Thursday afternoon a group of media types including yours truly had an informal sit-down with Jaime Lopez Diaz, Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company. Following are a few things he told us.
• The biggest challenge is building awareness about Puerto Rico as a golf and vacation destination among so much regional and worldwide competition.
• Puerto Rico has the largest economy in the Caribbean.
• About 90,000 spectators attended the 2009 Puerto Rico Open.
• There are 23 golf courses on the island; 17 are championship caliber.
• Those that come for golf or sun and sand find out there’s a lot more: culture, history, U.S.-equivalent infrastructure, accessibility, bilingual society.
–The Armchair Golfer
Opening Media Conference and More Chi Chi Rodriguez
Chi Chi Rodriguez: Puerto Rico’s Golf Ambassador