Saturday, May 05, 2007

Inside the clubhouse at Quail Hollow

What's it like on Saturday afternoon at the Wachovia Championship when rain is threatening and the Tiger Woods-Vijay Singh pairing is still two hours from teeing off?

It's like this:

• The CBS Sports team is meeting inside its trailer, plotting its strategy for its afternoon telecast. Jim Nantz, Nick Faldo, David Feherty, Peter Oosterhuis, Peter Kostis and Gary McCord are crowded into a little room talking about who's going to do what.

When Nantz steps out of the meeting, we spend a few minutes catching up. He was born in Charlotte and still has family here. Jim has an uncommon grace about him that carries over to his television work. On any list of good people, he's near the top.

• Mark Russell, one of the PGA Tour officials in charge of the tournament, takes a moment to explain why players weren't paired in threesomes and sent off the first and 10th tees today in anticipation of bad weather.

The forecast late Friday was for the best chance of rain on Saturday afternoon, not in the morning. Had it just been rain, play would not have been suspended for two hours but radar showed a storm cell moving toward Quail Hollow with lightning associated.

Rather than send a few groups out on the course - and all the volunteers with them - the decision was made to wait an hour. Then another hour. When the storm dissipated, play began.

Putting almost 30 threesomes on the course at one time, Russell said, wouldn't have necessarily helped the pace of play. There is no promise, however, the third round will be completed today.

Rain isn't expected to be an issue on Sunday. But winds gusting to nearly 30 miles an hour are expected.

• Saturday is always the most popular day at the Wachovia, at least based on ticket sales. It's the first day to sell out.

But the damp, gray day may put a damper on the atmosphere. That doesn't mean beer tents will be empty but it means the party may be more subdued than normal.