It was a good day for a book and a bath, but not golf.
And yet golf it was under a steady drizzle that sometimes gave way to a downpour in the second round of the Wells Fargo Championship at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm.
“When you have conditions like this,” said Jason Day (67, 10 under total), who will take a three shot lead into the weekend, “it’s really hard to commit to a shot because you’re going in there and you’re doing it kind of a lot quicker than your normal pre-shot routine, so you have to force yourself to hit the shot and trust that.”
No, a normal pre-shot routine does not include the intricate player-caddie umbrella dance that was the norm Friday. With more rain plus wind and unseasonably cold temperatures forecast for the weekend, the tournament is turning into a mind game, even for the leaders.
Luke List shot 66 and called it “a testament to being able to keep my emotions in check.”
The day’s biggest winner? That would be Keegan Bradley, who shot the best round (65) in the slop. It should be noted that he’s also the guy who shot a remarkable 71 – which would have been a 69 if not for an odd penalty – in howling wind at THE PLAYERS Championship in March.
Bradley, who is five back heading into the weekend, may be the only guy cheering for awful weather.
Max Homa (66, solo second, three back) persevered. When not counterpunching TPC Potomac, he and Day busied themselves with a debate about whether it was better to keep wearing a waterlogged cap or abandon it. Day went with the latter option, preventing drip distraction (it was a thing) as he stood over putts.
They also got caught up in a fantasy that involved being dry. Warm. Somewhere else.
“Jason and I have been talking about it for 2 1/2 hours that we can’t wait to be done,” Homa said.
Out on the course, Nick Watney, last to hit at the 11th hole, frantically searched his bag for a dry glove. “Sorry guys,” he said, before piping his tee shot through the soup and into the fairway.
Balls squirted off clubs and into hazards. Players went from being in contention to having a free weekend. Wesley Bryan went 66-78, and yet that was nowhere close to the day’s worst round.
James Hahn said he tried to think of himself as a kid again – a kid willing to play in anything.
“I grew up in this stuff,” said Hahn (68), who is tied with List and four off the lead. “This is kind of the reason why I left California is because of weather like this. It seemed like the year that I left, it was raining 100 days out of the year and so I would practice in this every day. I feel comfortable.
“It kind of brings me back to the good old days,” continued Hahn, who has yet to make a bogey, “when I was young and carefree and just wanted to go out and play golf.”
Chad Ramey tried to embrace the challenge, hopeful that it might help. It seemed to as Ramey, winner of the Corales Puntacana Championship in March, shot 66 to reach 5 under.
The biggest silver lining was that the course remained playable. The ball was flying considerably shorter, and it was hard to hold onto grips, but at the start of the day Homa told his caddie, Joe Greiner, not to be shocked if they only got in about eight holes. In that respect, he was surprised.
Pleasantly surprised? Well, no. Pleasant wasn’t really the right word on this day.
In any event, they got in 18. They’ll get in 36 more this weekend. Someone will win, and he will feel a whole lot warmer inside as he raises the trophy for the cameras.
A book and a bath can wait.