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Wind, rain wreak havoc at Pebble Beach again

Published Sep. 26, 2005

The streak is alive, only this one has to do with Pebble Beach, not Tiger Woods.

Before Woods could get to the 11th tee Thursday in pursuit of his sixth straight PGA Tour victory, clouds gathered over the Monterey Peninsula, tree branches snapped in raging wind,and the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am showed its true character.

Rain fell. With puddles forming on the greens Thursday afternoon, inclement weather _ also known as "Pebble" weather _ promised to cut short or cancel the tournament for the third straight year and fourth time in the past five years.

Play was suspended at 2:27 p.m. EST. Nearly three hours later, the PGA Tour told players to return at 1 p.m. EST today to complete the first round, and the tournament would be extended to Monday to complete 72 holes, if the weather cooperates.

"We're going to work on getting (today) in and then go from there," tour official Mark Russell said.

A year ago, the final round was washed out and the tour elected not to play Monday because of a storm system that stretched from Carmel Bay to Japan. In 1998, players returned in August to get in 54 holes.

Woods was even par through 10 holes and four strokes out of the lead. David Duval, who also got no further than the 11th tee at Poppy, was leading at 4 under par. Vijay Singh was 3 under through five holes at Poppy, and Mark Calcavecchia was among those at 2 under.

"We reached a point where everybody had problems keeping the ball on the green," Russell said.

He said several rulings involved balls that were marked on the green, but then started blowing away after being replaced.

"It's tough to look at it as a legitimate golf tournament when the conditions are like this," said Lee Janzen, who stopped coming to Pebble after the '96 fiasco. "This really doesn't do anything to convince me to come back. This solidifies why I haven't come back."

GREG NORMAN INTERNATIONAL: John Daly played conservatively and shot par 73 in Sydney, Australia. Tournament host Greg Norman started with two bogeys and never recovered, shooting 76.

Norman risks missing the cut of the joint Australasian-European PGA tour event for the second successive year.

"I putted terribly, and I couldn't get the scoring going at all," he said.

Maarten Lafeber outshined his more high-profile rivals with 7-under 66 and shared the lead with Gary Emerson of England in the $1.3-million event.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN CLASSIC: Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt has some Walter Mitty in him. Now, perhaps he can find a little John Brodie or Ralph Terry.

The longtime Phillies third baseman will make his Senior PGA Tour debut today at Key Biscayne.

"I think we all have these Walter Mitty fantasies, where guys like myself catch lightning in a bottle and have the two best rounds you've ever had, and get into the last group on the final day, and somehow you got there without knowing how," Schmidt said. "And there you are, with a chance to win a golf tournament. That would be my dream."

Schmidt is playing on a sponsor's exemption, but he has shown he's serious about the sport. He made it to the final stage of the tour's qualifying school in December before missing the cut. Schmidt would like to join former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brodie and former New York Yankees pitcher Terry as exempt players on the senior tour.

NEW TOURNAMENT: Seve Ballesteros has his own event. The Spaniard will captain a 10-player European team against a Britain-Ireland team in the Seve Ballesteros Trophy. The inaugural event is scheduled for April 14-16 at Sunningdale, England, with a $2.4-million purse.