EDISON, N.J. Harrison Frazar is leading The Barclays. All anyone wanted to talk about was Irene.
Whatever enthusiasm there was for the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs was dampened Thursday first by rain that halted the first round for nearly three hours, then from the gloomy forecast of Hurricane Irene. That left players and officials wondering when, how or even if they can finish the opening playoff event.
Of the early starters who didnt finish until mid-afternoon Frazar led an onslaught of birdies on rain-softened Plainfield Country Club, shooting a 7-under 64. One of the few times he was in trouble, he chipped in from behind the first green to turn bogey into birdie.
Vijay Singh overcame a double bogey early in his round for a 65 and was tied with Jonathan Byrd. Adam Scott was in the group at 66. Nick Watney, the No. 1 seed as the race begins for the $10 million FedEx Cup bonus, was among those at 67.
When it was too dark to continue, 51 players did not finish the round. They were to return at 7:15 a.m. today, and the tee times for the second round were expected to be pushed back by about 30 minutes.
William McGirt, the last of the 125 players who qualified for the playoffs, had to stop after making his seventh birdie in an eight-hole stretch to get to 7-under par through 11 holes.
Matt Kuchar, the defending champion at The Barclays, also was at 7 under through 16 holes.
I wanted to get done (Thursday), Frazar said. With the way the weather is coming, I didnt want to have to sit around and play too much (today) or too much Saturday. Its going to be a long week by the time this thing is over.
Slugger White, the tours vice president of competition, was hopeful that everyone from the afternoon group could at least make the turn. That would give the tournament a chance to complete 36 holes by today, and if the expected wind and rain holds off long enough, get through the third round Saturday.
No one was sure what to expect after that, if anything at all. White ruled out a 36-hole Saturday.
The concern is that Plainfield has absorbed about 10 inches of rain over the last few weeks and probably cant take much more.
If we get five or seven inches of rain here, we are probably dead in the water, White said.
This is supposed to be the time the 125 players who qualified can start dreaming about golfs biggest payoff $10 million to the winner after four playoff events in the next five weeks. Officials again painted PGA TOUR PLAYOFFS into the grass of one hill.
Its a wonder the paint didnt wash away.