The 2004 Senior PGA Championship
A PGA of America Event. Click to learn more

Rain, rain go away

More rain hit an already waterlogged Valhalla Golf Club on Thursday morning, forcing the first round of the 65th Senior PGA Championship to be delayed by two hours. But tournament officials remain hopeful that Mother Nature will ease up on the year's first senior major.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. ( -- As grounds crews scrambled to make Valhalla Golf Club playable Thursday morning, Kerry Haigh kept a close eye on the weather reports.

More than 3 inches of rain have fallen on Louisville since Monday -- including another 1-inch gully-washer early Thursday morning -- and Haigh, Managing Director of Tournaments for the PGA of America, was hoping for some relief.

"The greens and bunkers and tees are fine, but the fairways are saturated," Haigh said. "The course is going to play long. We've had to make some changes to the set-up, and the lift, clean and place rule will be in effect."

First-round play finally got under way after a two-hour delay, and the course appeared in remarkable condition given the amount of rain that has fallen. On many of the holes, grounds crew members formed a bucket brigade in bunkers, scooping out water and tossing it away.

"Obviously, we all know how much rain we've had," Haigh said. "But they're working very hard to get the course ready for play."

According to Haigh, organizers will do everything possible to complete the tournament on time Sunday, but added that a Monday finish was possible if more rain disrupts play.

"We've done it before," Haigh said of a Monday finish. "The year Doug Tewell won it (in 2000 at PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.)"

According to weather reports, more rain -- some in the form of thunderstorms -- is predicted to hit parts of Louisville every day from Thursday through Monday.

The following "local rule," as outlined in Appendix I, page 99 of the USGA Rules of Golf, will be in effect for the first round of the 65th Senior PGA Championship:

If a player's ball lies on a closely-mown area through the green of the hole being played, the player may mark, lift and clean his ball without penalty. Closely-mown areas are areas cut to fairway height or less. Before lifting, he must mark the position of the ball. The player must then place the ball on a spot within one club length of and not nearer the hole than where it originally lay, that is not in a hazard or on a putting green.

A player may place his ball only once, and it is in play when it has been placed (Rule 20-4). If the ball fails to come to rest on the spot on which it was placed, Rule 20-3d applies. If the ball when placed comes to rest on the spot on which it is placed and it subsequently moves, there is no penalty and the ball must be played as it lies, unless the provisions of any other Rule apply.

If a player fails to mark the position of the ball before lifting it or moves the ball in any other manner, such as rolling it with a club, he incurs a penalty of one stroke.

Penalty for breach of this Local Rule: Match Play -- loss of hole; Stroke Play -- two strokes.

If a player incurs the general penalty for a breach of this Local Rule, no additional penalty under the Local Rule is applied.

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