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PGA Tour season opener ruined by winds

Story highlights

  • Season-opening PGA Tour event at Kapalua has been decimated by bad weather
  • The elite 30-man field has yet to complete a round after three days of trying
  • The schedule has been put back to Tuesday, with only 54 holes now being possible
  • Tour official says the weather forecast is improving and the winds are due to drop

Charlie Beljan ended 2012 on an incredible high after a fairytale first victory on the PGA Tour, but his hopes of capitalizing on that breakthrough win have been blown away in the season-opener in Hawaii.

The U.S. golfer overcame a debilitating panic attack in Florida to qualify for the 30-man Tournament of Champions, returning to the course at Disney World after being taken to hospital.

However, the traditional curtain-raiser for the elite U.S. circuit has yet to get going, with high winds and rain causing play to be canceled on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The $5.7 million event has been reduced from four rounds to three, with 36 holes to be played on Monday and the final 18 on Tuesday.

Beljan: I thought I was going to die

If the wind continues to blow, even that is looking unlikely. Organizers face the prospect of it being reduced to "unofficial" status if only two rounds are possible -- while a cut to 18 holes would mean none of the purse counts for the 2013 money list.

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    PGA Tour chief of operations Andy Pazder said the forecast is improving, with winds due to drop from nearly 50 miles per hour (80 kph) to 25-30 mph (40-50 kph).

    "It's the gusts that creep up above 40 that have knocked us out. We had registered gusts up to 48 mph right before we suspended play today," Pazder told the PGA Tour website on Sunday.

    "Somewhere in the low 40s is what puts us out of business."

    While players actually got out on the course on Saturday and Sunday, they were left frustrated as balls blew off their tees and disappeared off putting greens after being placed.

    "They have not mowed the greens in two days and the wind is still blowing balls off the green," Beljan wrote on Twitter.

    "Brutal been in Hawaii for a week and still have not played a competitive round of golf."

    English golf star Ian Poulter also took to Twitter after being accused of taking too long over a putt by NBC commentator Johnny Miller.

    "Oh that was why I was taking a while. Ben Curtis had a 40ft putt then it blows 15ft off the green into the rough. Then 4 putts that hole," the 2012 Ryder Cup winner wrote.