2012 PGA Championship Interview Transcript -- Kerry Haigh, PGA
KELLY ELBIN: Kerry Haigh, the managing director of championships and business development for The PGA of America is with us to discuss the postponement, suspension of play today in the third round of the PGA Championship and to discuss the restart tomorrow. The third round will resume tomorrow with all players needing to be in position for the third rounds at 7:30 am. Starting times will begin at 11:44 am and going to the last group at 1:45 PM for the final round.
Comments, please, on the decision to stop play today and what the signs look like for resuming in the morning.
KERRY HAIGH: Okay. Well, thank you, Kelly, yes, unfortunately the weather gods turned against us today. We were fortunate yesterday and not so lucky today. We had to suspend play with the threat of a storm that came from the southwest and we suspended at 4:50 PM this afternoon, and the storm came through, hit about 5:30 or so. We had lightning very close by, and obviously some heavy rain.
It is still raining now and there is still lightning in the area. Unfortunately, we had to suspend play for today, but the forecast for tomorrow is very positive. There is a chance of some lingering showers first thing in the morning, but following that, our weather people tell us we can expect a very good day with winds very slightly less than they have been today.
With that forecast, I think the plan we have should certainly allow us to finish on schedule tomorrow evening at about ten to 7:00 and hopefully bring to a conclusion what we think and already is a very dramatic and exciting 94th PGA Championship.
Q. Some people were a little surprised to see the final group going out at 3:00 today; it's August in South Carolina and thunderstorms happen. Was there any consideration to perhaps moving the tee times up a little bit today knowing that that was a possibility?
KERRY HAIGH: Not really. I think the forecast for today was actually better than it was for yesterday, in fact. And obviously August in many states at this time of year is a challenging time, and sometimes you're lucky and sometimes you're not.
A lot of our weather issues actually have been in the mornings more so than the afternoons this past week. Our suspension on Tuesday and Wednesday were in the mornings. August weather is August weather, and I think the plan was to finish on time, about 7:00, which we would have done had the storm not hit as it did.
Q. What about for ticket holders, for spectators, are they able to use today's ticket and come back for the morning? How will that work?
KERRY HAIGH: No. Unfortunately Saturday tickets will not be valid on Sunday due to the capacity of the venue. We are sold out for the PGA Championship. We are very sorry and it's unfortunate for those ticket holders on Saturday that we could only play until 5:00 PM, but it certainly was a pretty full day other than the last two hours.
Q. Can you comment on how it went, getting the spectators off the course today when play was stopped?
KERRY HAIGH: Yeah, in terms of getting the spectators off the course, obviously a lot of people. We have a fully fledged bus terminal there to move the spectators to the parking lots. We did suspend, as I say, at 4:50 and the rain didn't actually hit until 5:30, 5: 35, so it did give spectators a lot of time. We posted the weather want signs almost an hour previous to that suspension. So spectators had the early warning that there was a chance of dangerous weather coming, and quite a number of spectators did leave once the weather warning signs were posted.
So as good as any rain suspension can be, which obviously it's not fun for anybody, as far as we know, all of the spectators got back safely or are getting back safely to their vehicles and to their homes.
Q. If you can, just talk about the course conditions right now, how do you expect the course to play tomorrow? Will it be normal or will it be pretty wet out there?
KERRY HAIGH: Course conditions, well, we had 4/10ths of an inch of rain last evening, so assuming this rain does not last all night, I think it's due for another hour or so now; if that does pass through, hopefully we will have similar conditions as we had today.
Obviously, one of the great advantages of The Ocean Course is its built on sand dune, and it drains extremely well. Once it stops, it will drain, and the greens will be soft as they have been all week, but it will still present a great challenge and I think it will be an extremely exciting final 28, 29 holes for the leaders.
KELLY ELBIN: Kerry Haigh, thank you very much for joining us.
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