For a while it was a murmur, then some idle chatter, but the talk about the greens at the Stadium Course for this year's Players grew into a full-blown conversation on Monday.
It’s been customary to allow players to practice on the Stadium Course starting on the Saturday before the tournament, accommodating those who either missed the cut in Charlotte or didn’t play last week.
Instead, the course was closed until Monday, with no play anywhere on the course for the last nine or 10 days. (It’s been closed to resort play for about three weeks already).
So while they’ve had trouble this year with grass on 4, 9, 11, 12, 13, and 14, they’ve only kept 4, 11 and 12 closed Monday and until further notice.
The greens have noticeable patches on them, and perhaps growing grass for the next three days non-stop will help their playability and their appearance.
Either way, there are no players, caddies, no anybody on those greens.
The players found out Monday with a memo posted about the condition of the greens. There has been no official comment, and won’t be until Tuesday at Commissioner Tim Finchem’s press conference.
“It’s not unusual based on the weather we’ve had,” one player told us this morning, “but for this tournament, this late, it’s pretty rare.”
The Tour has said an “over aggressive” chemical application is the cause. Locals (including some charter members) have told me it’s a combination of the chemical, the bad weather and poor use of the “sub air” system they have here to take moisture off the greens.
“They can’t get the roots to grow,” one member of 27 years told me. “Worst I’ve ever seen it.”
This tournament has 29 of the top 30 in the current FedEx Cup standings in the field. Only Jason Day is not here because of injury. Twenty-seven of the top 30 in the official world golf ranking and 20 of the 21 PGA Tour winners in this season are here.
Eight former Players winners are in the field, 23 major champions and 15 of the participants are first timers. By the way, if the winners seem younger to you, 10 of the 21 different winners on Tour this season are under 30. Twenty countries are represented, with Australia second behind the US with 10 players.
Jim Furyk, Jonas Blixt, David Lingmert, Matt Every, Luke Guthrie, Russell Knox and Billy Horschel are players in the tournament who call North Florida home.