LONDON • The British Open will finish on a Monday for just the second time in its history.
The golf tournament has been hit by hours of weather delays - rain on Friday and high winds yesterday - making it impossible to conclude it as scheduled today.
"The intention is to complete the second round today with round three to be played on Sunday and the final round to be played on Monday," organiser the R&A said in a statement yesterday.
The only other Monday finish in 143 previous British Opens was in 1988, when the late Severiano Ballesteros won the last of his three crowns at Royal Lytham.
It was a momentous decision by golf's ruling body, which has organised the Open Championship since 1860, but it became increasingly inevitable as the day wore on and the winds coming in off the North Sea refused to abate.
The remnants of second-round action had got under way early in the morning, but officials soon called another halt to proceedings as the wind picked up.
More than three hours of play were lost at the start of Friday's action when a storm deluged the Old Course, and 42 players were unable to complete their rounds.
The wet weather had passed yesterday morning and play got under way on schedule at 7am local time, but it soon became clear that on the more exposed parts of the course, balls were moving about. Officials called a halt at 7.32am.
"We spent an hour before play started assessing whether the course was playable," the R&A said. "Balls were not moving on the greens and, while the conditions were extremely difficult, we considered the course to be playable.
"Wind increased in speed by 10-15 per cent after play resumed. This could not be foreseen and made a material difference to the playability of the course."
The players were not happy, though. American Jordan Spieth led the complaints, maintaining that it was unnecessary for the players to be out there at all.
"We should never have started," said the 21-year-old American.
Spieth, who managed to par the 14th to stay at five under, at least was not tangibly damaged by the brief on-course spell. His playing partner, Dustin Johnson, dropped a shot on the 14th to slide back into a share of the lead with Danny Willett, who fired a 69 on Friday to stand at nine-under 135.
Two strokes further back were Adam Scott, Robert Streb, Zach Johnson and Marc Warren .
Ted Scott, the caddie for Bubba Watson, was as displeased. He tweeted: "Every R&A official in player dining is getting yelled at."
The organisers had earlier announced that, once the cut is made, play will be in three-ball groupings for the third round.
THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
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