Golf News

Hurricane Ike leaves small imprint on Valhalla

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (Reuters) - Preparations for next week’s Ryder Cup were temporarily halted on Sunday as the remnants of Hurricane Ike swept across much of Kentucky.

Greenskeepers work on damage near the 12th green after two television towers fell at the 37th Ryder Cup Championship at the Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky September 14, 2008. Winds from the remnants of Hurricane Ike swept through the area leaving more than 300,000 residents and businesses without power. Trees and limbs fell on the course but officials said Ryder Cup play would not be affected. REUTERS/Joe Skipper

Winds gusting up to 90 kph blew a television tower on to the 12th green at Valhalla Golf Club, causing minor damage, and the on-course media centre was closed as a safety precaution.

“The wind has had an effect on other items on the course but we do not yet have a full account,” tournament director Kerry Haigh told Reuters. “We will have to wait for the wind to die down before we can make a full assessment.

“We have kept everyone on the course safe and the media centre is closed for the protection of the few people who are still setting things up there.”

Asked about the damage to the 12th green, Haigh replied: “The television tower behind the green was blown over on to the green and caused a couple of small indentations which have already been corrected and repaired.”

Hurricane Ike weakened to a tropical depression as it headed across western Arkansas and further north-east on Sunday after making landfall on the Texas Gulf Coast as a Category 2 hurricane.

It continued to move rapidly across central Indiana and Kentucky, damaging buildings and homes while also downing powerlines and trees.

Although the high wind warning had expired by mid-afternoon at Valhalla on Sunday, a strong wind advisory was in effect until 8 p.m. EDT.

However, the long-range forecast is promising for the rest of the week with mostly sunny weather expected on all three days of the September 19-21 Ryder Cup.

“We are looking forward to an outstanding Ryder Cup and, with the forecast excellent for the three days of competition, we can’t wait for it to start,” Haigh said.

Holders Europe will be bidding for a fourth successive victory over the United States, and a sixth in seven editions, when the biennial competition starts on Friday.

Editing by John Mehaffey