The PGA Tour’s first FedEx Cup Playoff event, the Northern Trust, sits near the western edge of the projected cone for Tropical Storm Henri, which is expected to become a hurricane before reaching Sunday morning.
The National Hurricane Center reported Friday morning that Henry was several hundred miles off the coast of Georgia and moving north with sustained winds of 55 mph and gusts reaching 65.
The forecast track has the center of the storm making landfall Sunday afternoon. Tropical storm winds are expected to arrive Saturday evening. The projected cone stretches from Long Island to Maine and is likely to move in one way or another as the storm approaches land.
The Northern Trust is located at Liberty National in New Jersey, on the waterfront directly across from New York Bay and the Statue of Liberty. The PGA Tour has yet to announce a schedule change for the tournament.
A combination of storm surge, damaging winds and heavy rain could cause serious damage to Henri.
The surge along Long Island and across Rhode Island could reach 2 to 4 feet, while the Jersey Shore could see a surge of 1 to 3 feet, the National Hurricane Center said. Winds were blowing up to 65 mph as it rotated about 800 miles south-southwest of Nantucket, Massachusetts, Friday morning.
Rainfall of 2 to 5 inches was expected in southern New England, with a few isolated patches up to 8 inches, possibly causing flash flooding.
Much of eastern Long Island and the coasts of Connecticut and Rhode Island were under hurricane watch, while the coast closer to New York was under tropical storm watch.
“Everyone along the Long Island and New York area needs to keep an eye out,” said Da’Vel Johnson, a National Weather Service meteorologist in New York.
If Henri disrupts the tournament, it won’t be the first time. In 2011, Hurricane Irene made landfall and forced the cancellation of the Barclays final round, as the tournament was then known. It was then played at Plainfield Country Club in New Jersey, and the event was cut short after 54 holes with Dustin Johnson as the winner. Plainfield was inundated in this storm.
Henri is following on the heels of Tropical Storm Fred, which made landfall in Florida earlier this week before moving northeast and battering several states along its northeast path. USA TODAY reported that North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency after Fred caused flooding and left two dead and 17 missing.
UPDATE (3:37 p.m. ET): The PGA Tour released the following statement on Friday regarding the potential for inclement weather:
We are closely monitoring Tropical Storm Henri and its potential impacts on The Northern Trust. There is no impact from the storm on Saturday’s forecast, and therefore play will proceed as scheduled in duos from the 1st tee with an expected local finish time of 6 p.m. We will be evaluating Henri’s track throughout the day tomorrow and expect to publish the plan and schedule for the final round late Saturday afternoon. Henri should currently have no effect on Monday’s forecast. Depending on the forecast track of the storm, it is possible that the final round will be postponed until Monday.