The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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July 26, 2011

Weather to clear up for PGA event

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS — A rain storm passed through Monday during a Pro-Am event, sending players and spectators for cover.

But the rest of the week is looking much better weather-wise for The Greenbrier Classic.

Tournament director Tim McNeely should know. He has some experts at his disposal this week.

“We have The Weather Channel onsite,” McNeely revealed. “They know exactly what’s happening at any given time. They have a relationship with the PGA TOUR and they travel with them.

“There was some rain (Monday), but it looks like it dries up the rest of the week. There’s some chances of rain here and there, but that’s typical for this time of the year.”

According to The Weather Channel’s website, www.weather.com, White Sulphur Springs should be in the high 80s to low 90s through Friday, with a 20 percent chance of rain today, zero percent Wednesday and 10 percent chance on both Thursday and Friday.

But if it does rain, rest assured, there’s a plan.

“We have an evacuation plan in place that has been blessed by the PGA TOUR,” said McNeely. “Obviously, they do this on tour somewhere every week. What works well at one event may not necessarily work well at another event, but certainly there are some consistencies there.

“As far as the players are concerned, we have evacuation vans on the course placed in strategic locations so if we get a weather situation, the players can jump in the vans and seek cover. 

“The spectators, like at any other event, we just ask that if there is a weather warning, seek shelter or come back to the clubhouse area, to the hospitality area or the bus area and take cover,” McNeely suggested. “We’ll jump back out there just as soon as we can.”

The weather warning will be an air horn sounded throughout the course. There will also be notices posted on the scoreboards placed throughout the course.

“The air horn will stop play,” McNeely explained. “That will be well in advance of impeding weather. The scoreboards will also announce weather situations. That will give the players and spectators plenty of time to seek shelter.”

There is no minimum time that play is delayed, McNeely said. But a lot of rain could halt the action.

“It just depends,” McNeely said. “If we’ve received a lot of water, the golf course has to dry out a little bit. But if it’s just a lightning situation, we can come back immediately once the front moves through. The only time you would wait is if the course has absorbed too much water. We may have to squeegee some of the greens.”

McNeely stood proudly as the first day of the second year PGA TOUR FedExCup event unfolded.

“It’s been great on the first day,” he said. “We had some practice time, a Pro-Am with John Daly and Camilo Villegas playing, among others. For a Monday, it was a fantastic crowd.

“The course is beautiful,” McNeely added. “The greens are absolutely perfect. They’re really firm, really fast and healthy. We expect the guys to be tested in all facets of their game.”

— E-mail: jworkman@register-herald.com

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