Golf no match for weather

KEN FIDLIN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:13 AM ET

Over the years, the PGA Tour has expanded its TV horizons to include not just the big three American networks, but USA Network, ESPN, The Golf Channel and dozens of foreign outlets.

After the weekend fiasco, here's another candidate: The Weather Channel. Guaranteed more people in California were regarding TWC with a lot more interest than any of the others as they watch their houses slide off into the mud.

After yet another night of downpours that dropped two more inches of rain on Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, the tour finally cried "Uncle" yesterday and declared the Nissan Open a washout after 36 holes.

Adam Scott and Chad Campbell were sent out to the 18th hole to decide who would get the $864,000 US first prize and who would get $478,000 for second.

BOGEY

Scott made a routine par and Campbell, who hadn't hit a shot or a putt in three days, missed a four-foot slider for his par, settling for bogey and the smaller paycheque.

Other than the dough -- which, let's face it, is the most important part of this equation -- Scott gets no credit for the win. Any tournament that ends in less than 54 holes is not recognized as an official event. He'll take that disappointment all the way to the bank.

"I don't feel like I played much golf this week," Scott said. "I don't feel tired and drained like you normally do when you're battling."

But Scott did battle at least briefly on Sunday to get himself into position to catch Campbell and force the playoff. The young Aussie needed to make a 20-foot putt on his final hole to match Campbell at nine under par and put himself in the picture for the top money.

Now the players and TV cameras will move ninety minutes south to Carlsbad, another California coastal town battered by one Pacific storm after another, to try to play the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship scheduled to start tomorrow.

That includes Mike Weir, who saw his hopes for a third- consecutive Nissan title disappear down the drain, literally. He would have liked the opportunity to make up the seven strokes he fell behind during the first two rounds, but didn't get the chance.

"Obviously I was hoping for 36 more holes," Weir said. "It would have been tough to make that up in one round."

Unless the weather interferes once again, Weir is scheduled to play American Kirk Triplett in the round of 64 tomorrow at La Costa. Weir is seeded fifth while Triplett is No. 60.

This tournament is a serious grind, especially if it rains and the schedule has to be compressed.

The winner of this event must grind out six match-play victories in five days, including quarter-finals and semi-finals on Saturday and a 36-hole final on Sunday. If weather wreaks havoc early on as it threatens to, then players will have to double up on matches on Thursday and Friday.

Tiger Woods has won the Accenture championship the past two years, beating David Toms in the final two years ago and overwhelming Davis Love III last year.

Woods, however, goes into the event no better than the No. 2 seed, behind Vijay Singh. A win at the Nissan would have restored Woods to the No. 1 ranking in the world. He was lurking, but failed to make up ground in the second round and finished in a tie for 13th.

That puts Woods up against veteran Nick Price in the first round of the Accenture championship. Price acknowledges that he's in a tight spot but he isn't giving up.

"That's the beauty of match play," he said last week. "If you keep grinding away, making pars and the occasional birdie, you can beat anybody."

Oh, and one last note. The Accenture championship will be telecast in 40 countries on dozens of networks. But not on The Weather Channel. Big mistake.


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