PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Zac Blair became the latest victim of the 17th hole during the second round of The Players Championship, but he plans to wear his scars with pride.
Blair had a good round going and was fighting to make the cut when he stepped to the tee of the most iconic hole on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. He and caddie Andy Martinez had what they thought was a perfect 8-iron yardage, but his tee shot kicked back into the water.
The second attempt nearly went in the hole, but it trickled off the firm green and again into the water. Same for the third attempt.
By the time Blair found land, this time with a 9-iron, it was his seventh stroke and led to a sextuple-bogey 9.
“It was wild. But that’s just how it goes sometimes,” Blair said. “I was kind of cruising along nicely. Two under, no bogeys through seven holes. And then you stand up and flush three balls, and they all go in the water. It’s kind of game over from there.”
Blair went on to card an 8-over 80 and missed the cut by 11 shots. But he’ll look back on his swings on the 17th tee with little regret – outside of the outcome.
“Literally, three of the best swings I’ve put on it all week,” he said. “The second one was maybe the best swing I made all week, all year. I mean, it was right at it. I’m thinking maybe I was going to be a re-enactment of Freddie Couples (1999 hole-out par) there. But that just happens every once in a while. It’s all right.”
Blair is a golf course architecture enthusiast, and while Pete Dye’s most famous hole cost him a shot at playing the weekend, he still holds it in high regard.
“I think it’s an unbelievable hole, to be honest,” he said. “You get stuff like that that happens, especially if the wind gets gusty out there. Just got unfortunate. Probably caught the biggest gust of the whole entire day on that hole. Just how it goes.”