PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – New changes this year to parking at The Players led to a las- minute push from the PGA Tour to make sure people were aware that they needed to purchase and print parking passes ahead of time.
Many fans said that they think the new changes for parking passes made traffic move more quickly, since people weren’t trying to buy passes in the parking lots.
So around lunch time Thursday, which is usually one of the busiest times to get there, News4Jax reporter Chris Parenteau decided to find out what would happen if someone decided to head to The Players without a pass on hand.
While driving down A1A, Parenteau said there wasn’t much traffic heading to The Players, and even coming in the other direction down Palm Valley Road, it was moving pretty well.
“I think the parking changes were a great improvement over last year. This was very easy. Actually, it was a pleasure. I’ve been coming to this event for the last 20 years, and to be honest, the car never stopped rolling,” Alberto Cabrera said.
Many people had the same thoughts as they got to the tournament, parking passes in hand.
“I would say it’s a good thing. It’s excellent. We had no problem,” John Bryson said.
Thursday, the parking lot attendants were turning away people who didn’t have passes, just as the tournament said it would.
And Parenteau discovered what happens if someone doesn’t buy a pass ahead of time.
Chris Parenteau: How are you?
Parking attendant: Good. Do you have a parking pass, sir?
CP: No sir, I don't. Can I buy one here?
PA: You can't. We have to send you out here. We have a website that you can go to download your ticket. If you have a smartphone, you can upload the ticket to that, show it to us when you come back through.
CP: I can't buy it at will call or Publix this year?
PA: You cannot. I'm sorry.
CP: So, I just have to go around this way?
CP: Thank you, sir.
Parenteau found out that drivers have to get back into traffic to buy a pass and then try to go back in.
By 1 p.m. Thursday, the parking lots was packed, preferred parking almost full and general parking was filling up quickly.
Another change in the parking lot this year is a new paved walkway. In the past, fans said they’ve gotten hit with dust from cars that are passing by as they’re walking into the tournament. This year, that’s not happening and fans are pleased.
“This is a lot nicer. We were just commenting on the dust and how nice this was this year,” Cabrera said.
There was even a water truck wetting some areas of the lot to keep dirt from flying up as cars came in. Fans said it is a huge benefit over years past.
Anyone coming out this weekend should buy parking passes to save trouble. According to the website, preferred parking is sold out for the weekend. On Saturday, the carpool passes are also sold out, but general parking for all days is still available.