PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — At Pebble Beach on Sunday, the weather took a turn for the worse as hail hit the famed Monterey Peninsula, delaying the tournament for two hours and seven minutes.
Hail started at 10:43 a.m. local time, rendering some greens completely white and clearly unplayable.
Play at this event had not been delayed by hail since 1974. That tournament ultimately finished after 54 holes because the final round could not be fully completed on Monday and Tuesday.
Of course we can’t forget the 1962 event, then known as the Crosby Clambake, when it was cancelled due to snow, sleet and hail.
Even though Sunday didn’t bring all of those elements, there was still a lot of strange sights.
Like Patrick Reed’s caddie, Kessler Karain, who couldn’t help himself but make a snow angel on the 14th fairway.
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“There was just enough hail on the ground where I thought, ‘well, let’s see if this actually looks like a snow angel’,” Karain said. “I’m a Texas kid so I don’t really get to see much snow anyway, so when I do see it I always act like a kid in it.”
As the hail accumulated in the roughly 15-minute window that late morning, Karain didn’t need much to talk himself into this scene.
“I said, I’m going to do a snow-angel and Patrick was like, ‘you should totally do a snow angel’ and the other players said I should do it so I said ‘cool, here it goes’,” Karain laughed.
Why not take a bizarre weather situation and have fun with it?
But the reality Sunday was that the hail brought intensity for that short window.
“The hail hit me in the head and felt like a paintball,” Chez Reavie said. “It’s no fun playing in it out there.”
Reavie had last played in hail during his college days for Arizona State as his team visited the University of Washington over a decade ago.
Reavie’s caddie, Justin York, was shocked with the scene he saw Sunday, and it made things more intense that he and Reavie were on one of the most exposed parts of the golf course.
“We were on the sixth green, and that wind was whipping every bit of 30 mph, the hail was coming down sideways, Chez was holding the umbrella, I was holding the bag and we were getting pelted in the legs and a couple times you’d get smacked in the face with it and it kind of hurt,” York said.
“It started accumulating and the wind started picking up and I said, ‘Chez, you better go mark your ball’ just in case the wind starts pushing it.”
And both Reavie and York were out there, far from shelter, for the better part of 30 minutes.
In over 11 years caddying on both the Nationwide and PGA Tour, York had never seen hail on the golf course in competition.
Another caddie who had yet to see these conditions on a course was Tyler Duncan’s looper, Judd Burkett.
“We were on 8, at about the highest point on the course and Tyler and I were both holding the umbrella as hard as we could, and we huddled together for about 10 minutes,” Burkett said.
“It was something else. Until you can come out of cover, you don’t know what’s going to happen because you can’t hear anything and you don’t know what’s going on.”
They had to wait for scoring marshals to give them updates saying they were in a holding pattern and keeping players in position initially after the hailstorm hit.
Graeme McDowell’s caddie, Ken Comby, called the day as strange as he’s seen on the PGA Tour since the snowstorm that blew through Tucscon in February 2013 for the Match Play.
“It was bizarre how quickly this hailstorm came and how quickly it impacted the course,” Comby said. “It seemed like when the hail melted, all the greens flooded and that caused more delay.”
Tommy Fleetwood and his caddie, Ian Finnis, were on 13 as the hailstorm took effect.
After hitting their drive with playing partner Tony Finau and his caddie, Greg Bodine, the four of them took cover under a tree to the right of the fairway.
Finnis pointed out how things changed so quickly in a manner of minutes for him as well.
“The hole before, I put my sunglasses on because it was so bright,” Finnis said. “I’ve never seen that before from sunny, bright blue sky to ‘oh this doesn’t look good’.”
It was a similar experience for Karain who said he and Reed changed outfits three times from the time they started on the 10th hole at 9:22 a.m. to when the hail hit at 10:43 a.m.
What a way to keep the caddie busy!
And the change of weather was just as abrupt for them to see.
“You feel like you just saw four seasons in four holes,” Karain said. “It started with rain for us on the 10th hole, sun on 12 and 13, and hail. And once the hail started coming down, you could see the green ahead turn from green to white.”
And just how white did the greens look?
“They looked like someone spray-painted the greens white,” Bodine said.
Comedian Larry The Cable Guy also got caught in the mess and put a spin on it like only he could.