“Love Weather” Dominates at RSM Classic: Rain and Wind and Golf

Eric Cole, 2023 RSM Classic, (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Eric Cole, 2023 RSM Classic, (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /

The AT&T National Pro-Am used to be called the Bing Crosby, and it became famous for really bad weather. In a 1961 Sports Illustrated article, Alfred Wright wrote: “Almost always, the Crosby brings with it the year’s foulest weather.”

If 1961 was “foul,” the next year it was worse. It snowed. The final round was postponed.

To entertain people, Arnold Palmer put on a show by hitting knock-down 1-irons into Stillwater Cove, a small inlet of the Pacific Ocean between the 17th green and the 6th hole at Pebble Beach.  Eventually, Doug Ford won the tournament.

These days, Davis Love III’s tournament, the RSM Classic, is fast creating its own weather story.  From now on it’s going to be called Love Weather because the rain and wind make you want to cuddle up with a very good friend in front of a fire. Or at least with a gaggle of golfers around a sheltered fire pit.

While it’s unlikely to snow on St. Simons Island, since the last measured snowfall was in 1989, this is the time of year along the southeast coast when 75 and 85 turn to 65 with mist, wind and sometimes sheets of rain. Not every day, not every year, but often. Love, like Crosby, seems to be a magnet for it.

If nothing else, that means the RSM Classic is an authentic golf experience.

In Love Weather you always need a backup dry towel and glove and rain suit because the ones you started with are soaked after 9 holes. The waterproof lining in your shoes is shot. You have water dripping down your neck every time you putt. It’s just plain unpleasant from start to finish.

So, once again, umbrellas have been unfurled and squeegees are getting an overtime workout at the RSM Classic. Original tee times have been whacked, but it’s likely the tournament will still finish on Sunday. At least that was the most recent rumor.

The funny thing is this weather is not even close to tropical storm or hurricane conditions. It’s just all day off and on rain and wind. What coastal dwellers call a garden variety nor’easter.  What that means, in case you don’t live along the east coast, is that rain and wind come in from the ocean in intermittent bursts of nastiness.  In the southeast, a nor’easter may not be cold, but in Maine or Massachusetts it might be.

A Nor’easter can last a day or a week. You never know for sure. This one got an extra boost of energy from some system that was in Texas last week, got mad, and decided to invade Florida this week.

But it’s now responsible for giving the RSM a new weather designation: Love Weather.

Even though the conditions are annoying, the total opposite of Davis Love III, even he has to admit the weather seems to find him just like it did Bing Crosby.

Now the key to playing in it is that golfers have to adopt the attitude of playing in the British Open, Irish Open, or Scottish Open. Lovers of those conditions will succeed. As they say in Scotland:  “nae rain and nae wind, then it’s nae golf.” If nothing else, that means the RSM Classic is an authentic golf experience.

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And yes, PGA Tour golfers stubbornly play on because someone will win. A victory will give that player a tournament title, a 2-year exemption on the PGA Tour, entry to the Players and Masters and lots of other opportunities in the future.

So, love it or hate it, Love Weather is here. Embrace it!