Nelson Mandela Championship first round postponed to Friday by rain

Royal Durban Country Club at the Nelson Mandela Championship
Getty Images
The tees and greens were playable despite all the rain at Durban Country Club, said officials at the Nelson Mandela Championship, but water-logged fairways kept the first round from beginning on Thursday.
By
PGA.com news services

Series: European Tour

DURBAN, South Africa -- Rain has washed out the opening day of the 2013 European Tour season at the inaugural Nelson Mandela Championship.

The event, which is co-sanctioned by southern Africa’s Sunshine Tour, is now scheduled to start at 6:30 a.m. on Friday at Royal Durban Golf Club.

NELSON MANDELA CHAMPIONSHIP

This is the first edition of the Nelson Mandela Championship, and it is the first event on the 2013 European Tour schedule.

"The fairways are very waterlogged and the course hasn't improved as much as we hoped it would overnight," European Tour Tournament Director Mikael Eriksson said. "Further rain early this morning put us back another few hours."

Eriksson says organizers tried to shorten some holes to avoid the water. They are still hoping to play the full 72 holes in the first edition of the $1.3 million tournament, the first event on the 2013 Race to Dubai.

"The forecast wasn't bad at all for today and we hoped the course might have dried out a little bit more, but it hasn't actually," said Eriksson. "We tried early this morning to shorten the golf course -- made a couple of par 4 into par 3, one par 5 into a par 3 as well --  in an attempt to start, but with the additional rain as we were trying to restart it didn't work.

"The good scenario is that we start at 0630 on Friday morning, play the first round tomorrow, the second on Saturday, have a cut and then go from there," he added. "We are still hoping to get 72 holes in.

"The tees and greens are not a problem -- they are fine. It's the fairways and rough that are bad," he explained. "I'm hoping the sun is going to come out, but there could be some more rain on the way this afternoon."