The exercise of the year on the PGA Tour is "lift, clean and place."
"Lightning alert" and "play suspended" have turned up on more leaderboards than "David Duval" and "Fred Couples."
The Buick Classic, where heavy rain prevented the completion of the second round for a second day Saturday with Jim Furyk holding a one-shot lead over Kevin Sutherland, became the latest in a long line of tour events to be plagued by weather.Furyk had an 8-under-par 63 Saturday, one stroke off the Westchester Country Club course record set by Jimmy Wright in 1976, and was at 9-under 133 for 36 holes.
Be it torrential rain, high winds, lightning, fog or even frost, play at 12 tour events in 1998 has been suspended or delayed by the weather.
The Buick Invitational in February at La Jolla, Calif., was reduced from 72 holes to 54 holes by rain. The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in California in January also was shortened, when players got in only two rounds because of rain. Golfers will return to Pebble Beach on Aug. 17 to play one round and make the event official.
Buick Classic officials said they would be lucky if golfers could even play three rounds this weekend.
"We're just hoping and praying to get 54 holes in as things stand," tournament director Arvin Ginn said Saturday.
Heat and humidity were the hazards at the Buick Classic in recent years, not rains so heavy they turned sand traps and low-lying stretches of fairways and greens into creeks for two straight days. More than three inches of rain fell locally Friday and Saturday.
"Maybe this is the hangover for us from El Nino," Hugh Beath, the general chairman of the Buick Classic, said Saturday. "It's very unusual for this part of the world."
In addition to making life miserable for both golfers and spectators, the tropical-like rainfall has hurt the Buick Classic financially. Beath said ticket sales were down more than 25 percent since the rain started Friday and concession sales were off more than 50 percent.
"It's terrible," he said.
BELLSOUTH SENIOR CLASSIC: At Nashville, Tenn., Isao Aoki shot a 6-under 66 and tied a Senior PGA Tour scoring record Saturday in grabbing an eight-stroke lead after the second round of the BellSouth Senior Classic.
Aoki, who had 10 birdies for a 62 on Friday, started slowly with eight straight pars. But he finished with four birdies and an eagle for a 128 total, tying the record of 16-under par by Hale Irwin last year in the Vantage Championship.
Larry Nelson, who designed the Springhouse Golf Club course, shot a 68 and was at 136 and with Irwin and John Jacobs . Gil Morgan and Tom Jenkins were at 137.
In the tournament's four years, no one had led by more than one stroke after two rounds.
Swirling wind Saturday kept players guessing from tee to green. With the course drying, tournament officials didn't allow players to "lift, clean and place" as they had Friday.
The changes didn't bother Aoki, who started with a two-stroke lead over Morgan and quickly led by three as Morgan bogeyed the second hole.
On No. 9, Aoki finally got his putter working for his first birdie. He set up his eagle on the par-5 No. 10 with a 4-wood to two feet, giving him a five-stroke lead as Nelson bogeyed No. 11.
Aoki sank an 18-footer on No. 12, had a 2-footer on the 13th and saved par on the 14th with a 25-footer. His round would have been even lower had he not missed an eagle chance by inches on 12 and birdie putts on 15 and 16.
LPGA OLDSMOBILE CLASSIC: At East Lansing, Mich., Lisa Walters shot a 7-under 65 Saturday and built a five-stroke lead after the third round of the $650,000 LPGA Oldsmobile Classic at Walnut Hills Country Club.
Walters, a native of Prince Rupert, British Columbia who lives in Tampa, Fla., was at 17-under 199 for the tournament, five better than Donna Andrews.