Storm knocks down scoreboard, towers
DORAL, Fla. -- A gust topping 50 mph destroyed the large scoreboard across the lake from the 18th green at Doral and toppled two television towers Thursday during a storm delay in the first round of the Cadillac Championship.
Tournament director Eddie Carbone said no one was injured, and fans were given access to the clubhouse to seek shelter.
The 16 players who had started the first round were already off the course because of a storm delay when a microburst came through and sent structures crashing to the ground.
Golf Channel began its telecast with dramatic footage from a stationary camera atop a tower behind the ninth green. It showed a TV tower behind the eighth green toppled onto a bunker. Moments later, the tower behind the ninth blew over backward and into a small pond, and the camera went from showing the green golf course to the gray sky and then went blank as it plunged into the water.
Carbone said the tournament received reports of a 52 mph gust.
"It felt a lot stronger than that," he said.
The manual scoreboard, a traditional structure at Doral that sits across the lake to the left of the 18th green, was in pieces near the ninth green and could not be repaired. One of the placards used on the board fell onto the ninth green.
Carbone said a Shotlink scoring tower on the first hole also came down, along with 17 palm trees. They were among 440 new palms the resort had recently planted.
He said the hospitality tents were in good order except for the double-deck hospitality tent on the ninth hole, which is closed until it can be properly inspected.
Some players passed the time on Twitter.
"Wow! It's a mini-hurricane," tweeted Luke Donald, who posted a video from his room at the resort of raging palm trees.
"Well that tree is not where it used to be," came a tweet from Lee Westwood, with a photo of an uprooted tree.
And then there was Geoff Ogilvy. He opened his day with a photographer taking a picture at the top of his swing, then followed that with a shot into the water left of the 10th hole. Play was suspended before he finished the hole.
"Here I am, having a wonderful morning, with a 1 ft putt for double on my first hole, and they blow the siren," he tweeted.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press