JERSEY CITY, NJ
Liberty National avoided the wind from Hurricane Henri but not the rain that forced The Northern Trust’s final round to close on Monday.
At least that was the hope.
Jon Rahm and Cameron Smith finished the third round on Saturday tied with 16 under 197, one stroke ahead of Erik van Rooyen.
The PGA Tour decided, even before the third round began, that Henri was too much of a threat to players, spectators and volunteers to be at Liberty National on Sunday. Officials came to the course along the Hudson River and found the course in reasonable condition.
“Really good for 5 inches of rain,” said John Mutch, the PGA Tour Rules officer who oversees the event. “They were working on the bunkers when I was there. There isn’t a lot of standing water. I was pleased. I’ve seen a lot worse. “
Continuous rain fell again and again until early Sunday afternoon. Mutch planned to check this later in the day and then decide when the players would start the finals along with an updated forecast. Some pop-up storms were possible late Monday afternoon.
The place was built on a former landfill and drains relatively well.
Preparing for Henri, who was downgraded to a tropical storm before landing in Rhode Island on Sunday, was no easy task.
Hours after Smith broke the course record with a 60 – he missed a 12-foot putt for a 59 – and cream finished on par for a 67 to share the lead, Liberty National workers worked until Saturday night in and secured everything that was possible to blow away.
The mobile toilets were bundled and fastened. The ShotLink cameras that measure every shot at every hole have been dismantled. All of the metal fences that formed the lines for the ferry across the river to Manhattan or the walkway for the players to the practice area were secured.
These must be replaced before the final round can begin.
It was a rare day off for the players. Most recently, they were completely washed out at the Zozo Championship off Tokyo in autumn 2019. The BMW Championship at Aronimink near Philadelphia was washed out on Sunday, resulting in a Monday finish. In this case, the decision to postpone was not announced in advance.
Several players were in Manhattan, usually a good place to sit out a delay, but getting around was messy.
Much was at stake in the postseason of the PGA Tour. The top 70 in the FedEx Cup ranking after this tournament will advance to the BMW Championship, which begins outside of Baltimore on Thursday.
Keith Mitchell was in 101st place. He is in a six-point tie for 11th place and is currently expected to move up to 69th place, which would bring him into the BMW Championship. Tom Hoge was in 108th place and in a three-way tie for sixth place at Liberty National, which is expected to move up to 57th place.
Van Rooyen was in position to take a shot off the lead and his travel plan suddenly got a lot easier.
The South African arrived at Liberty National in 76th place and planned to play next week, be it in Baltimore or in Switzerland for the Omega European Masters.
Van Rooyen won the Barracuda Championship for his first PGA Tour title two weeks ago. With the fourfold values now, he seemed to be extending his touring season in one way or another.