By early Thursday afternoon, it was apparent that no amount of positive thinking was going to stop the weather from interrupting the Barclays golf tournament.
With Hurricane Irene on approach, and rain and lightning acting as the storm’s advance guard Thursday morning, only 60 of the field’s 125 golfers actually teed off, with none of them getting farther than 13 holes at Plainfield Country Club before being called off the course.
While the PGA Tour said play was scheduled to resume early this afternoon, the on-course competition isn’t the only concern for those involved with the event.
“We haven’t seen a spike in actual golfers going to the event, but we’ve seen a lot CVS employees showing up, which has been nice,” said Chris Flynn, owner of Hailey’s Harp & Pub, in nearby Metuchen.
Hailey’s was one of the participants in the Edison Chamber of Commerce’s local advertising website for the tournament. Pub staff will be handing out flyers at the tournament hospitality tent on Friday.
“We should see an increase in customer traffic,” Flynn said. “From a social media perspective, we’re pretty active. It’s just, does the consumer want to drive from wherever they are — since most are being bused — do they want to drive from that parking lot to local restaurants, and that’s what we’re hoping for.”
Flynn said he would much rather see The Barclays have a great turnout in nice weather, but is not totally discouraged about the weekend.
“Sometimes, normal rain’s not a bad thing, because people get cabin fever, and they’re looking to get out and go places,” Flynn said. “If Irene does show her ugly head, you may get the couple people that don’t want to get stuck indoors and will venture around surrounding communities.”
Flynn said things in the basement have been moved off the floor, and flags outside of the building have been taken down to prepare for the storm.
“Once you throw this storm into the mix, I can’t tell you what to expect,” Flynn said.