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PGA Tour season gets off to soggy start

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By The Associated Press
Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, 8:40 p.m.

KAPALUA, Hawaii — The PGA Tour season now starts Saturday.

Wind squalls that howled down off the mountains above Maui were so severe Friday that tour officials scrapped the first round of the Tournament of Champions. All scores were erased — only 20 players in the 30-man field even had scores on their cards — and the round will start over Saturday with 36 holes, weather permitting.

“I can honestly say the forecast isn't real good, but maybe we'll get lucky,” said Slugger White, the tour's vice president of rules and competition. “That's the hope.”

Rickie Fowler and Jason Dufner, who supposedly started the 2013 season by playing in the first group, made it through only eight holes. Six players, including defending champion Steve Stricker, hadn't even teed off.

It was the first time since The Players Championship in 2005 that a round was wiped clean.

The decision was great news for Scott Stallings, who made a quadruple-bogey 8 on the third hole and already was 7-over par after four holes. He will tee off as if none of that ever happened. As for U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson?

“It stinks for me,” Simpson said.

With a conservative game plan and a few good putts, Simpson was 3-under after seven holes when play was stopped. Jonas Blixt of Sweden at 1-under was the only player surviving par.

So much for starting the season in paradise.

This felt more like work than a working vacation, and the 40-mph gusts became too much when Carl Pettersson lagged a 40-foot putt that was slowing around the hole until a gust came up and blew it another 30 feet and just off the green.

Hunter Mahan went to address a putt and ball blew a few feet forward. Ian Poulter said he used his umbrella to shield the wind so he could mark his ball on the green, but when the umbrella moved, so did his golf ball.

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