The second round of the Ricoh Women’s British Open was suspended at 8.18am Friday due to high winds and golf balls moving on the greens at Royal Liverpool. Second round scores were declared null and void and play will now resume on Saturday at 6.50am.
The first group starting from hole-one were on the fifth when play was suspended, while the first group that started from the 10th were on the 12th, their third hole.
According to the official statement issued by Susan Simpson, Ladies’ Golf Union Tournament Director, issued at 11am on Friday 14th September:
The Rules Committee has declared the scores returned this morning null and void in accordance with Rule 33-2d.
The competitors began their round in extremely adverse weather conditions and conditions subsequently worsened despite our belief that they would remain stable.
It would have been unfair to those competitors not to declare play null and void and cancel all scores for the round in question.
A further announcement will be made at 2pm and the earliest that play will start is 3pm today.
Shortly afterwards, Susan Simpson then gave a media briefing and her words were as follows:
Interview with Susan Simpson, LGU Tournament Director
Have you made a plan for the continuation of the tournament?
We’re considering our options and we’ll see what happens today first of all.
What is the forecast for today?
The forecast is for the wind to drop however not until mid afternoon but it’s still pretty severe so we need a significant change before we can think about putting them out. Now it’s gusting up to 60 miles an hour.
Were balls physically moving on the greens?
They were moving. By the time we suspended play the balls were moving.
Do you know what the largest gust was while it was still being played?
25 miles an hour was the largest that we recorded this morning, gusts, and average wind was 18-20 miles an hour.
Was that while they were still playing?
From quarter past five this morning until five to seven when we had to make a call on it that was what was happening. It’s really picked up now.
Will hole and tee locations be moved?
We will move the holes.
Will tees be moved?
We haven’t decided yet. Haven’t had a moment to think about it. The holes will definitely be moved because those that went out and played would have that advantage. The holes will certainly be moved.
Are you keen to get some play in?
It would make a big difference to completing the event and it gives it some options. The more play we can get, if any, today, means that it opens up some different avenues to us. It’s all a bit of a play it by ear as we go along.
The cut has to be 65 and ties? On the men’s tour they can make it 50.
We don’t have that privilege. It’s 65 and ties and that includes the amateurs.
Would you go to Monday if necessary?
We have that option. It’s part of the contract that we have with the club but we would prefer to finish on Sunday.
What are the chances at the moment?
I don’t want to say yet because I don’t know what I’m doing today.
What time does it get dark?
Half past seven at the very latest.
If you put out the players this afternoon in iffy conditions and the players are out tomorrow in better conditions, what’s the different between that and scrubbing the scores?
Not a lot of difference so it has to change significantly this afternoon before we’ll put them back out.
Is there any chance you could have a 54-hole tournament?
I don’t want to say yet because we could potentially play 3-balls, two-tee start Saturday and Sunday, 36 holes on Sunday, but there are a few different permutations on the theme so we’ll do what’s best but at the moment it’s a bit of a guessing game.
Apart from rain, the forecast isn’t too bad for the weekend, is it?
Saturday’s okay; Saturday’s quite a nice forecast and Sunday we are going to have a little bit of rain but if it had just been rain I’m sure that this course would have coped with it without a problem but the wind’s caught us out, I suppose.
How late are you prepared to wait before you call it for the day?
We will make a definitive decision at 2 o’clock.
At 2pm you could potentially say no play today?
Is there some confusion out there with players who had marked the golf ball?
There are quite a lot of misconceptions that when they put the marker down and they put the ball down and leave the marker, that if the ball then blows that you can play from where the marker is and that’s incorrect. The marker is irrelevant, so the minute you put the ball back down the ball is in play but if it then subsequently blows away you’ve got to play from where it finishes up.
There were some players saying that they didn’t think that what they were being told was right.
That’s not true, actually. What they were told was something completely different.
They were getting it wrong?
It’s quite interesting. It’s amazing, for players that play all the time, week in, week out, it’s maybe a rule that they’re not too sure of. A lot of players thought that when they left the marker behind the ball, that was okay and if the ball then blew they could put it back but that’s not the case.
Which were the worst holes?
12, 13. They didn’t get as far as that, but those greens, those that are by the sea are very exposed and quite undulating as well.
Was there an example of somebody putting a ball down and it rolling?
I think the girl that was playing in Suzann Pettersen’s group, Suzann, Cristie Kerr and her, they had quite a bit of trouble on the green. Ultimately, I think the ball moved from being about a ten inch putt to something in the region of about six foot.
The hole was on a slope there wasn’t it?
No. It’s not on a slope, there’s a slope behind it… its not on a slope.
She would have had to tackle the six-footer?
She would have. She’s marked the ball there when we suspended, but she thought she could pick the ball up and put it back to where the marker was for the short putt and that’s not allowed. We had to then mark the ball where it had ended up after the wind had blown it, which understandably, she wasn’t too happy with.
You won’t give her a gimme, then?
No. We’ve done her a favour, I suppose! Obviously we’ve got a lot of tees and ball markers to pick up.
Was that behind the decision to wipe the scores out?
That particular hole? Not at all, no. It’s what’s fair to everyone.
Is it possible that the fourth round would be cancelled altogether?
We don’t want to say that yet because there is still a lot of golf to be played. We haven’t made a decision on how we are going to proceed over the weekend.
Ross Hallett, IMG Tournament Director, also gave a few words:
Have you had anything like that in tournaments that you’ve run?
Not that particular decision. We’ve obviously had overruns before. At the HSBC Champions two years ago, we ran into the Monday. I think we’ve been very lucky with this event over the years. We’ve had suspensions but nothing as extreme as this in terms of weather or losing so much play in one day.
Has there been infrastructure damage?
We lost a leader board on Tuesday out on the 12th tee, 11th green, but since then, since we got the weather forecast, everything has been staked down, bolted up, we’ve had to take down netting, heras fencing is down so we’ve lost some of the aesthetics of the tournament but the essential infrastructure is still there.
At 2pm the announcement was made that Friday’s play would be cancelled and ticket holders could either change their tickets for another day or take a refund.