Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. We’re taking a break from WOWgr this week to focus on the latest out of TPC Sawgrass. Don’t worry, though—WOWgr will return!
Bring a mop and a bucket
Unfortunately, the Players Championship is off to a wet start, and it looks like the weather will be the story of this tournament. A four-hour delay meant a lot of sitting around on Thursday, and early-afternoon tee times were pushed into the late afternoon. The remaining groups will attempt to finish their first rounds on Friday, “attempt” being the operative word.
To find out what to expect from the weather this weekend, we reached out to Good Morning Jacksonville’s Lew Turner. In addition to being a handsome local-news anchor, Lew is a trained meteorologist, and he gave us the following rundown:
“We’re most likely to see a workweek finish—a great opportunity to listen to a championship-clinching putt during your commute home Monday/Tuesday.
“The issue with Florida, specifically north Florida, is that cold fronts have a hard time moving through, and that’s exactly what’s happening here: stalled front. So Friday’s rain chances are actually 100% and we’ll be lucky to finish the first round, let alone get the second round underway. Saturday brings more rain and severe thunderstorm potential. Still not great to get much done.
“The good news in all this, Sunday looks to be very dry, very breezy, and much colder. Plus we ‘spring forward’ and get some extra daylight in the evening. Thirty-six [holes] on Sunday to set up a Monday finish may be the best case, in this meteorologist’s opinion. The worst case: we all sink into the data lake.”
So it goes. We push on. Here’s a recap of what went down on day one of the 2022 Players:
Gotta go low – As anticipated, conditions were primed for scoring on Thursday. There was very little play in the actual rain, so those on the golf course had preferred lies and the ability to attack just about every pin. Tommy Fleetwood and Tom Hoge hold the clubhouse lead with their 66s, but half of the field still has a ways to go in round one.
Spin cycle – While the course was there for the taking on Thursday, a lot of shots ripped back uncontrollably on the soft greens. This made approaching back pins tricky, and the players with the most control of their spin gained an advantage. With the forecast promising soft conditions through the weekend, keep an eye on the spin factor.
Potential for draw bias – The early wave had to deal with a delayed start and a long intermission, but scoring conditions, as we’ve mentioned, were nearly ideal. Seventeen players are in the clubhouse with rounds in the 60s and the field average is under par. If Friday’s forecast is as bad as they say and the late/early wave has to gut out 27-36 holes, the early/late wave could have the edge.
Not so threatening – Harold Varner III is the only player to find the water on the island-green 17th so far. Actually, he found it twice. Soft conditions and a back pin convinced most players to aim at the middle of the green and take the two-putt. We’ll likely have to wait for either a new pin or some weekend pressure to bring on the water balls.
We got bamboozled – Hey, remember on Wednesday when we gave you a few shots to look out for on the PGA Tour’s excellent Every Shot Live coverage? Well, Every Shot Live was nowhere to be found on Thursday. Did we miss a press release? Are we going crazy? Did the ESPN+ agreement kill that feature? We don’t know, but we’re going to get to the bottom of it.
The Latest from The Fried Egg
TFE Events – Registrations for the Backyahd at Essex County Club open on Monday, 3/14, at noon ET! Come join us for 36 holes at this Donald Ross gem in September. Visit the event page for more information.
ICYMI – The Players Purse Has Risen Astronomically, But Money Can’t Buy Major-ness – This week’s Players Championship features a record $20-million purse, but as Will Knights argues, money alone doesn’t make an event important.
The Fried Egg Podcast: Jerry Pate – Jerry Pate, winner of the first Players Championship held at TPC Sawgrass, joins Garrett Morrison to talk about that week in 1982, his famous jump into the pond left of 18, and more. Listen on iTunes and Spotify.
Thirty-three players shot 68 or better in the first round of the Honda LPGA Thailand, but Nasa Hataoka had a particularly impressive day. She hit all 14 fairways and all 18 greens en route to a Thursday 63 and a tie for the 18-hole lead.
If you thought the LPGA Tour leaderboard was crazy, 36 players shot 66 or better in the first round of the MyGolfLife Open on the DP World Tour.
Tiger Woods was among those inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame on Wednesday night. The 15-time major winner closed the night with a long speech that focused on his childhood and his appreciation for his family. For more on Tiger’s induction, read Rayn Lavner’s piece for Golf Channel.
The PGA Tour made the Players Championship trophy come to life and hit a shot on the 17th hole. Before you ask: no, we don’t know why.