Jeff Young turned out to be one of the really fun parts of my story on the 17th hole and its stagehands. Besides being a super nice fellow, he had some great insights into what is going on at 17 tee where he was collecting what clubs the players hit and sending the information to the announcers. He was kind enough to produce his data from the four days, for those who are interested:
17th Hole Club Selection
Provided by NBC spotter Jeff Young
8-irons used: 8 times
9-irons used: 36 times
Wedges used: 25 times
8-irons used: 16 times
9-irons used: 147 times
Wedges: 266 times
Considering the hole is 137 yards, played that yardage Sunday, it does make me wonder if it might be time to add a little length to the hole. Then again, a fun anecdote of the week just didn't fit my story and it might suggest that length is not needed.
Adam Scott arrived at the tee with the wind at about its peak for the afternoon. The shot called for plenty of club (obviously) and perhaps some sort of semi-knockdown play. Scott briefly debated the shot and pulled a pitching wedge.
Also on the tee was former Players Champion Craig Perks, stationed behind Scott and announcing for PGA Tour Radio. As a courtesy, Jeff Young would flash the club when Perks didn't get the signal from the caddy. When Young showed the clenched fist for wedge, Perks tilted his head at Young, who reciprocated with a shoulder shrug suggesting he couldn't believe it either.
As soon as Scott hit his shot, Young, who had been turning around to watch where balls ended up on the video screen, didn't bother this time, instead turning to me and saying, "That one doesn't have a chance."
The wind knocked it about 8 yards short of the green into the lake.
I looked over at Perks who was looking back at Young, who also looked over at the former Players Champion. Both just shook their heads in disbelief at the selection. I joined them in amazement.