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.