Changes await fans heading out to Players this week

A look at some of the more notable changes, updates at TPC Sawgrass

FILE -The clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough, File) (Gary Mccullough, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The work began on this year’s Players Championship before Cam Smith lifted the trophy last year.

And things have certainly changed since Smith won The Players in 2022. For starters, the local resident who now plays on the LIV tour isn’t back to defend his championship. But 49 of the world’s top 50 golfers are heading to TPC Sawgrass to try and master the Stadium Course this week.

When fans begin arriving, they’ll notice the same pristine grounds that the PGA Tour has been working on since last year. For tournament director Jared Rice, this is the week it all comes together. All the planning and ideas and execution unveiled to the public for the first time.

“I think first of all, you’re going to see a bigger build,” Rice said. “And that’s always kind of a cool thing, right? But this temporary city that we all built collectively, it’s a big deal.”

Rice said that The Players is “ahead of pace” with tickets compared to 2022.

“We are expecting a pretty strong week,” he said.

Players Championship times

DayTimeWatch it
Tuesday7:30 a.m. practice rounds; military appreciation, 4:30 p.m.N/A
Wednesday7:30 a.m., practice roundsN/A
Thursday6:45 a.m., gates open for first roundGolf Channel, noon-6
Friday6:45 a.m., gates open for second roundGolf Channel, noon-6
Saturday7:30 a.m., gates open for third roundNBC, 1-6 p.m.
Sunday7:30 a.m., gates open for fourth roundNBC, 1-6 p.m.

So, what are the things fans need to know before heading out to the golf course this week? Glad you asked. Let’s slash through the hyperbole and market speak to give you the nuts and bolts of what’s new, what’s back and what’s really important.

Not that sustainable splash cups and adding words like ‘enhanced’ in front of things aren’t exciting but …

There’s an app for that

The PGA Tour is stressing for fans to use its new app. The Tour said it’s been reworked, fine-tuned and touched up to include more robust stats, faster load times and scoring updates and, more importantly, deeper and more fan friendly ways to navigate around the course. If the stats or augmented reality features don’t interest you, the clear reason the app is helpful is for navigating the massive layout of the Stadium Course.

Fan lockers are here — and free

Free fan lockers are on site this year. That means fans can store their goods safely in a locker. Did we mention, it’s free? Ever seen what places like Disney and SeaWorld charge for locker rental?

What’s back that you need to know about?

That cash in your wallet is no good at TPC Sawgrass. The tournament has stayed cashless and will remain that way. Digital payments are the way to go.


Those big setups for fans are usually accompanied by higher-priced tickets. Fan bleachers are open to the public. There are bleachers set up by the No. 8 green. They include a full bar. On the 12/13 green, there are more covered bleachers open to the public. Drinks are available there as well.

Tickets and parking

All tickets remain digital and must be purchased in advance. Likewise with parking. Friday and Saturday parking is sold out. It may be available for those days through the secondary verified market at Ticketmaster. Two children (15 and under) will be admitted from with a ticketed adult all week.

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.