Another false start to Mandela Championship

An overnight thunderstorm flooded Royal Durban Golf Club yet again, and the start of the Nelson Mandela Championship was put on hold.

European Tour Tournament Director Mikael Eriksson said: “The further overnight rain – around 30mm – and a huge thunderstorm has obviously set us back by a long way now. Every fairway is almost completely under water now and there is no chance we will be able to play at all on Friday.”

While players made their way to the practice green and driving range, officials made every effort to prepare the course for play.

“The plan now is to try to start the first round at 0630 on Saturday morning; we are hiring more pumps and more people to try to clear the water off the golf course as fast as possible,” said Eriksson.

The storm was not an unusual occurrence, but the intensity of it came as a surprise. The Sunshine Tour’s climatologist, Evert Scholtz said: “The overnight storm started with unstable hot air over the interior of the country, which built into a storm over the Drakensburg mountain range and then moved to the coast. Adding to the intensity of the storm was a flow of hot, high-energy air in the middle layers of the atmosphere, which descends from the tropics and can cause intense storms upon reaching the coast. Today is fairly clear, but it is cloudy over the interior, so there is the chance of more rain this afternoon.”

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