ST. LOUIS – When the horn sounded to halt play Friday afternoon at the PGA Championship because of lightning, fans were ordered to seek shelter.
There weren’t too many who heeded the advice right away. Tiger Woods was in the fairway on hole No. 8 when the horn sounded at about 3:30 p.m. The majority of the fans in attendance at hole No. 9 stayed in place to get a glimpse of Woods heading off the course.
The lack of urgency can probably be attributed to a couple things. With radar loops available on every smartphone, fans could see that the storm that halted play wasn’t going hit the course in the next few minutes. It was still sunny outside. And they also couldn’t easily get to their cars. With roads closed in the immediate vicinity of Bellerive Country Club, fans are parking in remote lots and being bused to-and-from the course.
So for the fans that stayed on a blisteringly hot midwestern afternoon, their priorities didn’t change much. Beer and shade were at the top of the list.
The PGA Championship’s concession stands stayed open in the opening 20 minutes of the delay and fans clamored for beer. The tournament even had beer carts at the course, and an enterprising vendor set her cart up in the midst of trees between hole No. 1 and hole No. 10.
“They were in the shade and they were selling beer,” a fan named Mark said, pointing his Michelob Ultra can towards the cart.
According to our informal observations, Michelob Ultra is the beer of choice among PGA Championship patrons. Bud Light comes in second, though Bud Select was making a strong showing. Select’s cause was helped by a woman carrying four beers who said “I got nowhere to be until 10 a.m. tomorrow.”
Those beers were a tad expensive, however. PGA Championship prices are nothing like prices at the Masters. A beer will run you $9 or $10, depending on how fancy you want to get with your Anheuser-Busch beers. After all, this is in St. Louis.
A $20 bill will get you a beer and a sandwich or salad. But not anything more than that. At the Masters with their famously low concession prices, domestic beer was $4 in 2016 and a craft beer was $5. Here’s a price comparison
2018 PGA Championship
But the outcome wasn’t great for the fans that decided to stay on the course. About 40 minutes after the delay happened, rain started falling at the course. Though the Beverage Oasis was still selling beer as the drops started to fall.
Within minutes, a full-fledged downpour was in the works. Fans huddled under trees or made the late decision to get off the course. The risk looked like it was initially worth it. But weather delays happen for a reason.
I applaud the lack of hustle in the downpour by many of the PGA Championship patrons who stayed during the weather delay until the storm hit.
When you're committed you're committed. pic.twitter.com/wAaydlj3Xt
— Nick Bromberg (@NickBromberg) August 10, 2018
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.