JERSEY CITY, N.J. – The PGA Tour isn’t far from the bright lights of Broadway this week, and so as the saying goes, the show must go on.
The final round of the Northern Trust at Liberty National Golf Club was postponed until Monday due to Henri, which flipped back and forth from Tropical Storm to category 1 Hurricane status before making landfall on Sunday near Rhode Island and bringing heavy rain and 40-mile-an-hour winds as it weakened.
Central Park in Manhattan was doused with record rainfall and many New Jersey residents are without power, but the Tour officials hope to complete play on Monday despite a forecast that calls for another “drenching rain.”
Tee times were released late Sunday afternoon with players being sent off both nines in threesomes. The first tee time of the day is set for 7:30 a.m. ET, though veteran Tour pro Lee Westwood isn’t so sure that will be doable.
PGA Tour rules official John Mutch expressed a more sunny outlook despite the flash flood warnings in the area.
“Really good for 5 inches of rain,” Mutch told ESPN of Liberty National, which was built on a landfill and has a SubAir system beneath the greens. “They were working on the bunkers when I was there. There’s not a whole lot of standing water. I was pleased. I’ve seen a lot worse.”
When the third round ended, Smith had caught Rahm at 16-under 197 with a course-record 60. South Africa’s van Rooyen shot 62 to trail by one stroke in third. He’s one of five players projected to move into the top 70 of the FedEx Cup point standings and advance to the BMW Championship, which begins Thursday in Baltimore. Should he fail to be on the right side of the cutline, he’s slated to head to Switzerland for the Omega European Masters.
The forecast is dicey, with continued rain through Sunday night and into Monday. If less than half the field tees off for the final round, the tournament could be shortened to 54 holes and a sudden-death playoff between Rahm and Smith, who both missed birdie putts at 18, would determine a victor. That scenario has happened in the past such as when Tiger Woods won the 1997 Tournament of Champions and Phil Mickelson edged Gary Nicklaus at the 2005 BellSouth Classic.