Gusting winds forces scrapping of Hyundai Tournament for 3rd day

Updated 08 January 2013
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Gusting winds forces scrapping of Hyundai Tournament for 3rd day

MAUI, Hawaii: Mother Nature again turned nasty at the PGA Tour’s season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii on Sunday, forcing play to be abandoned for a third consecutive day due to strong gusting winds.
A little more than an hour of the already long-delayed first round was possible before officials halted the action at the Kapalua Resort, scrapping the scores and aiming for a Tuesday finish to an event trimmed to 54 holes.
Thirty-six holes are planned for Monday with a two-tee start for the 30-man, winners-only field, followed by 18 holes the following day.
“We tried,” Slugger White, the PGA Tour’s vice president of rules and competition, told reporters. “We were on the edge when we started out at 11:10 and we were probably okay for about 30-45 minutes.
“And then the bottom fell out. We were having gusts out there of about 48 miles per hour.
Balls were blowing off the green and we couldn’t even get a ball to come to rest on the 12th green when we stopped.
“It started off bad and got worse. We washed the round out today and we’re going to try again.” As high winds continued to batter the Hawaiian island of Maui, chaotic scenes were the order of the day after Rickie Fowler struck the first shot in the re-scheduled opening round when he teed off at the par-four first.
Fellow American Matt Kuchar, who hit the first shot on the 10th hole, had a lengthy conversation with rules officials after his ball was twice blown off his tee before he eventually set off.
Scott Stallings was not quick enough to mark a one-foot putt at the 12th before his ball was blown seven feet away. His cap followed suit soon after.
Fellow American Ben Curtis reached the green in regulation at both the 10th and 11th but completed those holes in a combined five over par. He had watched in shock as his ball, after settling, was blown off the back of the 11th green.
Englishman Ian Poulter, Kuchar’s playing partner, tweeted: “Well we tried to get it done even if it took a while over shots today as the balls were moving. No one likes penalty shots for no reason.” Before teeing off, Poulter had told Golf Channel: “This is going to be crazy golf. You’ve just got to suck it up.” Jason Dufner was the early leader at one under after five holes with compatriots Fowler and Kuchar (also after five holes) among a group of 12 players knotted at level par when play was suspended.
Plans to play 36 holes on Sunday were swiftly dashed when the re-start of the opening round was pushed back four hours as winds continued to gust well above 40mph (64.4 kph) across the Plantation Course.
The PGA Tour’s season-opening event had already been cut to 54 holes because of unplayable conditions over the first two days, forcing officials to prepare for a Tuesday finish.
“You just can’t play in this,” said White. “You can hardly walk in it, much less play golf.
“We’re going to go off in split tees tomorrow from 7.10 local (1730 GMT) and try to play 36 holes tomorrow, finish early Tuesday morning for a 54-hole event.” Should poor weather conditions lead to the tournament being further trimmed to 36 holes, the eventual champion would wind up with an “unofficial win,” officials said.
The last time a PGA Tour event was cut to 36 holes was in 2005 when Australia’s Adam Scott won the rain-hit Northern Trust Open.


Juan Antonio Pizzi is still the right man to lead Saudi Arabia, says former Green Falcons boss

Updated 22 June 2018
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Juan Antonio Pizzi is still the right man to lead Saudi Arabia, says former Green Falcons boss

  • Saudi Arabia's 1996 Asian Cup-winning coach Nelo Vingada backs Pizzi to lead side into next year's Asian Cup.
  • Green Falcons face Egypt on Monday with both looking to land their first point in Russia.

MOSCOW: Saudi Arabia’s 1996 Asian Cup-winning boss Nelo Vingada has called on the country’s football authorities to keep faith with head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi despite a disappointing showing in Russia.
The Green Falcons still have to face Egypt in the final match of Group A, but have already been eliminated following a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Russia in the opening game on June 14 in Moscow and a 1-0 loss to Uruguay five days later in Rostov.
 “I was expecting a little more from Saudi Arabia to be honest,” Vingada told Arab News.
“In the first game they were disappointing but a first game of the World Cup is always hard and especially when it is the first game and everyone is watching. Plenty of teams at the World Cup did not play well in the first game.
“But playing Russia in Russia and to lose is what you would normally expect from Saudi Arabia and while it was far from positive, people should not get carried away.
“The game with Uruguay was much improved in terms of organization and defense and it showed more of the character of the Saudi Arabia team.”
In the past, coaches have been axed following disappointing World Cup campaigns but with the 2019 Asian Cup just seven months away, the Portuguese tactician would prefer to see some stability rather than yet another new man in the dugout.
 “The Asian Cup is in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia will be one of the contenders,” Vingada said. “It is better to stay with the same coach. He has a vision of how he wants the team to play and he now knows the players and the players know him.”
Constant changing has not helped Saudi Arabia in the past and Pizzi himself has been in the job just seven months.
“The problem is not the coach. He should not be changed, that has happened before but results did not improve, but the mentality has to change.”
Despite that Vingada, who has coached 
Egyptian club giants Zamalek and the country’s Under-23 team, believes that the Pharaohs, also eliminated, will prevail when the two regional rivals meet on Monday in Volgograd.
 “This is an important game for pride, the players and the countries. It is still the World Cup. Egypt have a little more quality I think and have Mohamed Salah too.” 
The Liverpool striker has been recovering from a shoulder injury sustained in the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid in late May and missed the opening game 1-0 loss to Uruguay. He played in the second game, a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Russia, scoring from the spot late in the match to earn a consolation.
“Any coach would take Salah because he can win you games but overall Egypt have been a little disappointing and a little unlucky.”
The bad luck came when conceding a last-minute goal to Uruguay and a fluke own goal to get Russia off the mark. “Uruguay are a tough team and it is no shame to lose 3-1 to a Russia team at home who are playing to qualify for the next round. It showed that European and South American teams still have a little more quality.”
 “Egypt just made some mistakes at the wrong time but this is football and without mistakes there are no goals.”
Ahead of the clash against Egypt Pizzi confirmed his intention to stay as Saudi Arabia boss, looking to build on the seven months he has had to imprint his ideas on the team ahead of the Asian Cup.