At the conclusion of the third-round better-ball matches at the Presidents Cup, it was clear that there was a third team involved in the competition: the weathermen, and not the militant group from the 1960s.
After golfers had battled rain and thunderstorms for two days at Muirfield Village Golf Club, on Saturday skies again turned charcoal and a deluge fell as though the course were under its own personal waterfall. It alternately sprinkled, drizzled, poured, dripped and generally inundated golfers and spectators alike from noon until 6:30 p.m. ET. Then everyone officially just plain gave up.
Play was halted, this time until early Sunday. Officials were assuming expected overnight storms—yes, more—would leave the course playable. Based on the track record of the forecasters, that's a dangerous assumption. The only thing the weather had been good for was playing with a slip and slide.
On Friday, someone who can’t count or measure said it had rained .08 inches. When rain is pouring off of tent tops and racing down roadways, less than an inch doesn’t make sense. It looked more like the golf course had taken six inches. Even the blimp ran for cover early. That’s a sign—and not a good one.
By Saturday, the rain-measurers said it was 1.6 inches at the golf course. Anybody who was here would disagree with that number. It seemed more like another half a foot as it came down in sheets that blinded drivers.
The Presidents Cup 2013 had become a study in weather forecasting gone bad.
Last week, the 10-day forecast predicted temperatures in the 70s with little chance of rain. Last Sunday, the prediction was for warmer weather with a chance of showers the first few days in the week and the major rain event on Friday or Saturday with cool weather Sunday.
Then instead of the predicted fall climate or even the Indian summer, a tropical storm settled over the Midwest with alternating patterns of rain and sun and clouds. Columbus, Ohio, became South Florida, with readings in the 80s, off-and-on showers and pop-up thunderstorms.
Even radar did not seem to help. The Weather.com rain pattern differed from Intellicast.com, with the latter proving somewhat more reliable but still not perfect, as glob after glob of green, yellow and orange traversed across the state, homing in, as it were, on the Presidents Cup.
Maybe the event should have adopted the stance once taken by Gen. George Patton, who told his chaplain, “I want a prayer for good weather and I want it now.”
The only positive note for the afternoon was issued by International captain Nick Price, who did not mention weather. “We are only halfway through this competition,” he said after the Round 3 matches concluded. “We still have another 17 points left.”
Is that another 17 points worth of rain? As Snoopy is fond of saying, “Arrrgh!”
If nothing else, at least this time the Presidents Cup has not been decided in favor of the U.S. before Sunday’s play, even if it took the weather to do it. The U.S. is leading 10.5 points to 6.5 points, and the Internationals have a lead in three of the five matches in Round 4. If that lead were to hold, it would be 12.5 to 8.5 headed to the singles play.
“It will be another 5 a.m. bus ride for all 24 guys,” Fred Couples said about Sunday.
Kathy Bissell is a golf writer for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand or from official interview materials from the USGA, PGA Tour or PGA of America.