The festivities began in the Champions Ballroom at the Sawgrass Marriott where Golf Channel’s Rich Lerner, Brandel Chamblee and Frank Nobilo hosted the Senior National Championship Players Dinner.
Lerner set the mood for the evening by telling a story about the time he and Nobilo arrived in Ireland for the 2006 Ryder Cup and – thanks to Nobilo’s awful navigation skills – ended up driving their rental car to Portugal.
Lerner was kidding, of course, but the lighthearted tone was evident throughout and hit fever pitch when Chamblee told a story from his playing days about when he attended a players’ party for an Asian Tour event and pressed the wrong button when trying to use the toilet. Let’s just say you had to be there to hear it.
Mark Russell, vice president of rules and competitions for the PGA Tour was also on hand, and offered insight into how the courses will play – in particular the demanding Players Stadium Course.
“If you haven’t played Bermuda rough,” Russell cautioned, “Welcome to the South.”