MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Thursday’s storm was so bad, it actually stopped play as golfers and fans ran for cover at the FedEx St. Jude Classic.
All of the action moved from the golf course to the clubhouse.
The only golfing the fans could watch was on television at the clubhouse.
The tournament director suspended play when the storm started to moved in. The sky turned from daylight to dark in a matter of minutes, and 60 mile an hour winds blew over railings.
The lightning and heavy rainfall sent golfers, volunteers, and fans running for cover.
Tournament director Phil Cannon made this announcement to the crowd gathered: “Should play resume, the golf course will be closed to spectators and non-essential volunteers.”
This meant the rest of the day was off-limits to spectators.
Cannon said falling limbs and water covering part of the course could be a safety hazard.
He added, “With about 10,000 spectators on the golf course, we just felt it was best to suspend play with enough time so those spectators could evacuate safely.”
Thursday was the first round of play for golfers.
Austin Cook was glad he didn’t get stopped in-between shots.
“Sometimes when you’re about to hit a shot and it’s one of your hardest shots, and the rain delay…and you have to come in and that’s the first shot you have to hit. It could mess with the mind a little bit,” said Cook.
There was some damage to a gazebo, but Cannon said most of the course looks fine and shouldn’t hamper play and the tournament should wrap up by Sunday as scheduled.
“It’s part of the game and its also a time to take a break and relax but you don’t really want to relax this long,” Raymond Harris, a golf spectator, said with a laugh.
“It’s disappointing. We had a good morning though up until the rain started but just part of golf you know enjoying the fellowship right now, you know,” said Harry Wallace, another spectator.