For the second straight year, there are no spectators at The Players on Monday.
Last year, a bad storm with high winds came through Ponte Vedra on the weekend before the tournament and the clean up process prevented the golf course from being open to spectators on the first day of the week.
With limited spectator involvement on Monday to begin with, the Tour decided to keep the golf course closed again this year to fans, opening on Tuesday for the first time.
No doubt the cost of services provided on Monday exceeded the revenue generated so closing on the first day of the week would be no big deal. The problem is, there are a lot of fans that really enjoy Monday. It’s always been a chance for some “purists” to look over the golf course and perhaps stand on the range and just watch players hit balls.
Monday’s never been about the party, it’s always been about the golf without the extra thousands of spectators who are there for different reasons than to examine Bubba Watson’s length or J.B. Holmes’ shot shape.
With just media, players and officials at the golf course, the equipment examination by players that happens every week is magnified. Equipment manufacturers are represented at every tour stop early in the week and The Players is no exception. What a golf club feels like in your hands ins a very personal thing and the reps running the trucks know some players are going to tinker every week and others are going to stick to what they know. The number of players who work on their own clubs is virtually nil compared to 25 years ago.
Arnold Palmer was perhaps the most famous “tinkerer” when it came to altering his clubs when he deemed necessary. Now, the equipment trucks can be so precise that players rely on the “guys in the truck” to work on their sticks and get it right.
The most celebrated equipment change this week is Jim Furyk’s putter. The Ponte Vedra Beach resident went to a new Odyssey putter before last week’s tournament in Charlotte and shot 7 under 66 in the final round, finishing second. Interestingly enough, Furyk’s new putter is 38 inches long and counterbalanced in the grip.
The other equipment news this year is how many players are hitting the new TaylorMade Speed Pocket irons. Titelist has had a polymer insert in their AP irons for a few years but TaylorMade’s Speed Pocket irons now have a polymer in the slot that softens the feel and increases the speed of the face for a faster launch.