PGA Day 1: Weather plays a role

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Tiger Woods marches up to the 18th green under perfect weather conditions during Tuesday’s practice round.

Tiger Woods noticed the wind during Thursday’s first round of the PGA Championship. It seems as if he liked it.

I was standing about 10 feet from Tiger at his post round press conference today ready to ask him a question about the breeze. No need. He was all over it.

He mentiond the wind at least 3 times during his brief comments. “It was downwind on some of the par 5’s, and that made them reachable” said Woods. He commented on the monster length of Hazeltine, and how that allows tournament officials to move tees around depending on wind directions.

Clearly the wind was at Tiger’s back today both literally and figuratively. His five under round of 67 is the best on the course so far today, and will likely give him the early lead heading into Friday’s second round.

I got the sense today listening to Tiger that he is keenly aware of weather and how it plays into his game. I saw him back off from a shot more than once today, seemingly gauging the wind before stepping back up to hit the shot.

It would be awesome to sit down with Tiger over a beer and talk about the finer points of how weather plays into his game. Tiger is known to take every advantage he can get. I get the sense he is far more than the casual weather observer, and pays a lot more attention to wind and weather factors on the course than the average PGA touring pro.

Minnesota meteorologists watch the sky at Hazeltine:

I’ve had the pleasure to work at a few PGA events in my day. One thing spectators don’t see is the crew of meteorologists that watch the skies and weather computers at every PGA event.

Meteorologists from Burnsville-based DTN Meteorologix are at Hazeltine this week watching the skies. The have deployed an electronic field mill at Hazeltine that measures static electrical charges in the atmosphere. The device can measure static electrical increases in the atmosphere prior to a lightning strike. If the charges reach a high level, they can warn PGA officials that lightning is imminent.

It’s nice to know that weather eyes are watching the skies above Hazeltine this week.


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