Sobel: How Will TPC Sawgrass Play in March? Tour Pros Tell All
Peter Casey, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Webb Simpson
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Welcome to Conference Championship Week, when the elite contenders start trying to get their games in shape for the impending Big Dance.
And no, I’m not talking hoops.
For the first time in 13 years, The Players Championship is being contested in March – and for the first time in 13 years, competitors will be playing with one eye toward the upcoming Masters, no matter how much the powers-that-be here at PGA Tour HQ despise that notion.
There’s a definite correlation between the current paradigm in college basketball and that of golf. In both sports, this week is important, but as much for what it could mean moving forward than anything else.
There are more tangible changes to this event, though, than just its’ place in the schedule.
The biggest, of course, is the golf course itself. In May, TPC Sawgrass played fast and firm, with players often holding back from hitting driver, just to maximize accuracy.
That won’t happen this week.
Instead, we should expect a longer, softer and by some accounts tougher track two months earlier.
“It’s soft, it’s wet,” said Tiger Woods. “We had the rain [Monday] night; we were getting mud balls and it’s back to how it used to play. Cooler, ball’s not going as far. The last hole, last year I hit 3-iron, 9-iron. Today, it was 3-wood and a 3-iron. So a little bit different.”