Colonial golf officials not panicking despite heavy rains

Cleanup work continues by the 18th hole at Colonial. The course has taken on six inches of rain in the past 10 days.
Cleanup work continues by the 18th hole at Colonial. The course has taken on six inches of rain in the past 10 days. Jimmy Burch

Afternoon rains pounded the golf course at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial again Wednesday, creating standing water in spots on a saturated layout.

But tournament officials are not concerned about Colonial Country Club being overwhelmed by rains in advance of next week’s PGA Tour stop in Fort Worth despite a rainfall total of six inches at the course over the past 10 days.

“We’re not worried or on any high alert at this stage,” Colonial tournament director Michael Tothe said following Wednesday’s Colonial Preview Luncheon with the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. “The golf course is in very good shape. Naturally, it will be soft. But there is a lot of time between now and the golf tournament.”

That does not mean the past several days have been easy ones for Scott Ebers, the Colonial course superintendent, and his staff. Tothe said torrential rains Saturday night and Sunday morning created standing water that covered much of the giant scoreboard located in a flowerbed near the 18th green. The green itself, which is elevated, was not submerged.

Ebers was able to pump away the water Monday and the course appeared to be in pristine condition Wednesday, with no visible puddles, before afternoon rains created more standing water for workers to clear.

Tothe, who has worked at Colonial since 2008, said the weekend rains that triggered flash floods in multiple DFW locales marked the first time he’d seen the giant scoreboard obscured by standing water. But co-workers and club members said they have witnessed more dramatic high-water situations than Monday’s that did not significantly impact play because the course drains well.

Still, everyone in the Colonial tournament office would welcome a series of sunny days between now and Monday’s initial pro-am of tournament week.

“Scott and his team are the best in the business. We’ll always be ready,” Tothe said. “But you can only control what you can control with Mother Nature. This golf course drains well. But there’s going to be a saturation point. I’ve not seen this much rain leading up to the golf tournament for a long time.”

In regard to recent field updates, three golfers have removed their names from the commitment list: Harris English, Tim Clark and Davis Love III. Clark and Love cited injuries. Tothe said Love’s spot in the field has been taken by Mike Weir, the 2003 Masters champion.

Jimmy Burch, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @Jimmy_Burch