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« Players Poll Fun: Tiger Drop, Stevie In The Hall, Book Reading | Main | Clock Ticking On WGC Match Play... »
Tuesday
May062014

Could Inconsistent Greens Lead To A March PLAYERS Again?

I never attended a March Players Championship but everyone who did said the event had more energy because of the build-up to the Masters. However the move to May has been outstanding for balancing out the schedule and giving the event a stronger identity separate of the year's first major. In recent years any question about the May date has been shot down by Commissioner Tim Finchem. So it was a bit of a stunner when he opened the door Tuesday to the possibility of a March return if TPC Sawgrass continues to have anything but perfect conditions.

Doug Ferguson reads between the lines of Finchem's comments Tuesday, noting that the Commish said a move is "unlikely" but but not entirely ruling out a return to March, essentially admitted the possibility is on his radar.

"When you build a tournament and you're shooting for perfection -- which is what we do -- and we have some imperfections, it doesn't make it any more palatable that the players are being good about it," Finchem said. "I mean, we need to fix our greens. And we intend to take all the steps I just mentioned and some others aggressively next year. So I think we're going to be fine.

"At the end of the day, if we can't maintain consistent conditions -- and I think they will be competitively fine this week on balance -- then we may have to examine the date."

This opens up numerous issues related to the game and the planned 2015 re-grassing of the TPC Sawgrass greens.

Setting aside that this could serve as another example of the game's deadly obsession with smoothness, greenness and speed (Bob Carney just posted a terrific rant on this), the greens were spectacular last year and only off-color the year prior (but putted beautifully). It's pretty clear this year's issues were the result of an unfortunate mistake and bad weather. However, since I've been going to The Players the tee to fringe conditioning, first by Fred Klauk and now Tom Vlach and team, have presented pretty spectacular turf, maybe even too good for what was once rustic Pete Dye swamp golf.

If the tournament were to move back to March, perhaps shifting there thanks to the WGC Match Play's possible demise, this would impact the choice of grasses and the overall presentation of the place. First world problems extraordinaire.

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Reader Comments (10)

The quote of the day by Doak was really great. Seems like a lot of these guys (Finchem, Davis, Bishop) want to act like they are all about firm and fast and OK with brown, as long as it's not at a course representing one of their tournaments.
05.6.2014 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv
It was Fred Klauk, not Fred Vuich.
05.6.2014 | Unregistered CommenterSF
Bingo SF.... I don't remember problems like these under Klauk's tenure...
05.6.2014 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Thanks SF...blogging at 39,000 feet. Vuich will be thrilled that I gave him credit for the conditions over Mr. Klauk.
05.6.2014 | Registered CommenterGeoff
Fred did a great job making it look like Augusta per orders from above - but it isn't. Sawgrass is just that. It's built on a swamp, its nasty, its windy, its everything you could want, unless of course (no pun intended) - you want a silicone beauty pageant. Sawgrass, palmettos, bermuda and you have a unique, brutal and riveting event. Why the PGA Tour always tries to imitate and "buy" a major is beyond me. Poor Pete - he gave them a cut diamond and they turned it into a cabachon. The seasonal issues will forever raise their ugly head. Nature rules.
05.6.2014 | Unregistered Commenteranguis
How about those greens throughout the year for the avg joe paying $350++ to play there?
05.7.2014 | Unregistered CommenterVKM
No way they go back and compete with March madness. p.e.r.o.i.d.
05.7.2014 | Unregistered CommenterNo Longer
This would not happen at The Masters, U.S.Open, Open or PGA.... period.
05.7.2014 | Unregistered Commenter5th major
I can't imagine the conditions for play had the tournament been played in March. Winter was brutal on the Southeast this year. Much better, agronomically, I would think that it's now and not two months ago.
05.7.2014 | Unregistered CommenterPTL
It just seems to me that had this misapplication process not happened - we wouldn't be talking about conditions of the greens this week. It did happen, and to make matters worse the course remained open for play (or so I've gathered anyway), adding to the stress and prolonging the recovery time needed... and what you see is what you get.

With a human error in play, what does moving the date back to March accomplish? Does moving the event up earlier on the calendar lessen the likelihood of human error? What am I missing here?
05.7.2014 | Unregistered CommenterPA PLAYA

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