Ryder Cup Logo Ryder Cup: Team USASeptember 22-24 2006, The K Club, Straffan, County Kildare, Ireland
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Wicked weather buffets K Club, causes delay

Wild winds whipped across Dublin on Wednesday morning, forcing organizers to close the K Club and delaying practice for the 2006 Ryder Cup by three hours. Once the winds relented, the gates were opened the teams arrived for a second day of practice.

September 20, 2006

DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) -- The second day of practice for the Ryder Cup was delayed by three hours Wednesday when high winds forced organizers to close the course, keeping thousands of fans waiting in parking lots miles (kilometers) away.

At dawn, organizers shut down The K Club, southwest of Dublin, because of winds gusting above 40 mph (65kph). But as winds eased and the rain faded, the course was reopened and shuttle buses headed to the club, where the U.S. and European teams belatedly warmed up for Friday's start to the three-day event.

The U.S. team had been scheduled to tee off about 7:30 a.m. (0630 GMT), the Europeans 30 minutes later, but neither side appeared on the course until about 11 a.m. (1000gmt).

Europe Ryder Cup LLP, the event organizers, thanked the thousands of people stuck in two parking lots for their patience, and said police and other advisers had deemed the K Club unsafe.

"All structures have subsequently been checked and loose impediments such as screens, fencing and flags secured," it said in a statement.

About 40,000 people attended the opening practice session Tuesday. Thousands more sat in their cars Wednesday morning waiting for the weather to improve and the buses to roll.

RTE, the Irish national broadcaster, fielded streams of calls from golf fans in the parking lots. Some described their frustrations and fears that bad weather could foul what is the biggest international sports event ever staged in Ireland. Others said they were keeping their spirits up by singing songs.

Meteorologists attributed the high winds to the tail-end of Hurricane Gordon, which has steadily weakened as it crossed the Atlantic.

Met Eireann, Ireland's state forecasting service, predicted that the weather would remain "very wet or stormy" Thursday. It said Friday would begin with continued wind and rain, then improve with "a few scattered showers during the day and periods of sunshine."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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