After a lengthy weather suspension, LPGA officials canceled the first round of the season’s final major, the Evian Championship. All partial scores from the first round were canceled and play resumed on Day 2 with the championship reduced to 54 holes. While the weather would not allow players to resume play on Thursday, many wondered why scores were not carried over to the following day.
The Rules of Golf provide the Committee with four options when a course becomes unplayable due to weather conditions during a stipulated round (Decision 33-1/2). Under Rules 33-1 and 33-2d, the Committee may:
(a) resume play the next day to finish the stipulated round and then start the next round that day or on a subsequent day,
(b) cancel the stipulated round, replay it on a subsequent day and then play the next round that day or on a subsequent day,
(c) reduce the number of rounds of the competition and finish the suspended stipulated round on a subsequent day, or cancel the stipulated round and replay it on a subsequent day, or
(d) cancel the stipulated round and declare the leader to be the winner.
Because the suspension occurred during the first round, declaring the leader to be the winner of the event was not an option. LPGA officials chose to cancel Round 1 and reduce the number of rounds of the competition from 4 to 3.
The Rules of Golf do not govern when the Committee should cancel a round; however, they do provide guidelines on this situation. Generally, a round should be canceled only when it would be grossly unfair not to cancel it and further play for that day is impossible. Ultimately though, the decision on how to proceed is up to the Committee running the competition (Decision 33-2d/1).
In the case of the Evian Championship, LPGA officials determined that the forecasted weather would have created drastically different playing conditions for players in the field and, in equity, canceled all scores from Round 1. At the time, the forecast called for rain Sunday through Tuesday, leading to the decision to reduce the competition to 54 holes.
Play was completed as scheduled on Sunday, with the event providing a thrilling finish and ultimately a second major-championship victory for Anna Nordqvist of Sweden.
Daniela Lendl is a Rules of Golf Associate for the USGA. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.