The mess at Congressional

Pitches and Putts,Sports,Kevin Dunleavy

Here’s just one example of why spectators are not allowed on the course Saturday in the third round of the AT&T National.

On Bradley Boulevard which borders Congressional, a tree toppled by Friday night’s storm, dangled precariously over the street, held up by power lines. The road was closed. Even with no spectators coming,  there was jammed traffic from Potomac Village along River Road, leading to Congressional.

According to PGA Tour official, Mark Russell, workers with chain saws spent the night clearing the drive that leads into Congressional of four trees. Many other spectator traffic areas are blocked by downed trees and limbs.

According to Russell there was a “giant tree” across the 14th fairway and another in the 18th fairway. There were several trees down behind the green at No. 2

The extreme weather also was a factor in the decision. Temperatures are expected to reach 100 degrees for a second straight day, and there is a chance another severe thunderstorm will hit Congressional this afternoon.

“It was an easy decision,” Russell said. “It was just too dangerous. There was just debris out – everything that was inside the ropes has fallen outside the ropes. It’s going to take a long time to clean this up. We talk about the golf course, but the whole area is suffering from this.”

The last time spectators were barred from a professional golf tournament was the final round of the Boone Valley Classic, a Champions Tour event, in Missouri, as heavy rains left the main parking area under water.

“That’s a very drastic decision, not allowing fans to come out,” Russell said. “But it’s in their best interest. It’s a dangerous situation in the area today with the heat and the storm and everything … I drove down here down Wisconsin Avenue and there wasn’t one stoplight working”

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