Is the Ryder Cup Headed for a Monday Finish?

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A greenkeeper removes excess water from the course after heavy rainfall that suspended play during the 2010 Ryder Cup golf tournament at the Celtic Manor golf course in Newport, Wales, Friday, Oct. 1, 2010. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Mark Twain famously said that “golf is a good walk spoiled.” Be thankful he’s not in Wales for the 38th Ryder Cup then: you can barely walk let alone play the game.

Incredibly, the Ryder Cup is facing the prospect of a Monday finish for the first time in its history as play was suspended after just two hours on Friday due to persistent rain. Organizers are expected to make the historic decision at around 1100 am ET. That came and went with nothing confirmed apart from play resuming at 1200pm ET, which may bode well for the rest of the weekend. It was thought that European captain Colin Montgomerie gave the game away, as he predicted that, “If we don’t start at 1.45 (8.45am ET) we are not finishing on Sunday.” Monty will be more peeved than his counterpart Corey Pavin as Europe lead the U.S. in three of the opening four matches. (Check out TIME.com’s history of the Ryder Cup)

But should it have even come down to this? Former European captain Bernard Gallagher told the BBC that had the FedEx Cup been completed at an earlier time, it could have resulted in the Ryder Cup taking place two or three weeks ago. He believes that the powers that be in European golf didn’t stand up to the Americans and so the schedule held firm.

He has a point: it’s not as if the weather in Wales in October is known to be particularly friendly. And this first suspension of play at a Ryder Cup since Valderrama, Spain in 1997 will have devastated a proud nation. Britain’s Lee Westwood summed it up perfectly, noting, “It’s not what they would have wanted – 10 years of planning have gone into this. I’m also disappointed for the fans – they gave the golfers an unbelievable reception.”

One British news network has suggested that the latest possible finish time for this year’s Ryder Cup is sunset on Monday, which is 1.43pm ET. That would mean that if there were any matches still ongoing at that time, they would not be able to finish and the score at that time would be deemed final.  Europe requires 14.5 points to win back the Ryder Cup while 14 points enables the U.S. to retain it.

Perhaps the only person sporting a wry smile right now is 2008 European Cup captain Nick Faldo. He got pretty much every decision wrong during his disastrous leadership in Kentucky two years ago but his final words are certainly coming back to haunt everyone now: “Make sure you bring your waterproofs to Wales.”

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