The Hoag Classic is set to get underway on Friday at Newport Beach Country Club in California but its Monday qualifier was cancelled in rather extreme and unusual circumstances. There were 53 players that had registered to compete for the four spots still available in the field but they had their qualifying rounds cut short when they were evacuated from the course as a wildfire raged close.
The Monday qualifier was taking place at nearby Goose Creek Golf Club and videos began to emerge on social media which showed just how serious the situation was.
One of the players in the field, Clark Dennis, shared a video of the blaze on Twitter…
— Clark Dennis (@cdennisgolf) March 3, 2020
Fellow competitor Shaun Micheel – remember him? – also shared a similar video. “I thought I’d seen it all on a golf course,” he said.
— Shaun Micheel (@shaunmicheelpga) March 3, 2020
So how did the Tour decide to proceed with the quali-fire (sorry)?
Micheel tweeted later on to confirm they chose to make the Monday qualifier a nine-hole event and that the players were told to send a photo of the scorecard that they were marking via text message to the tournament officials.
Just to be clear, the County Sheriff and Fire Marshal ordered everyone to leave the property. A picture of the scorecard was sent via text or email as you state. We were responsible for submitting our fellow competitors score. In my case, I sent in Rick Garboski’s card.
— Shaun Micheel (@shaunmicheelpga) March 4, 2020
The change to the event format was carried out as per the event qualifying reduction policy in the PGA Tour Champions handbook, according to the PGA Tour.
Players began at both the 1st and 10th tees, so it was established that two players from each side would qualify and in the event of a tie scorecards would be compared.
Micheel prevailed along with Cliff Kresge, David Morland and Andy Raitt, and the 2003 PGA Championship winner.
“It was scary,” he told the PGA Tour, “You could definitely feel the heat on the 14th green.
“The fire department did a tremendous job getting it under control. It was crazy, by the time I left, there were three helicopters battling the flames.”
Featured image taken from Shaun Micheel’s Twitter account.
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Could the golf ball be rolled back for everyone?