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Harman a single, caddie taking the slow approach

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Brian Harman is going it alone in the first round of The Players Championship. 

Harman, who was first alternate until D.A. Points withdrew while on the first tee Thursday, teed off by himself at 12:20 p.m. ET in a tee time invented by PGA Tour officials to precede the afternoon wave of play.

The bizarre situation began to unfold when Points was announced to play at his 8:39 a.m. tee time, then decided his injured back was not well enough to compete. When Shotlink staff realized they had no data for Points, they alerted tournament officials but it was too late to insert Harman where Points would have been. 

Hoggard: Tour makes the right call in allowing for Harman

PGA Tour's statement regarding the Harman-Points controversy

Points has been criticized for his last-minute decision, but Harman's caddie, John Davenport, was sympathetic to Points' predicament.

'For a $10 million purse,' he said, 'you'd have to have me wrapped in a tourniquet not to play.'

As Harman was assigned his tee time, he was asked if he would like to play with a marker for pacing. He declined, according to Davenport, believing it might be distracting.

Pace would be an issue for the left-hander regardless of playing alone or with someone else. Davenport estimates it takes no more than a dozen seconds for Harman to pull the trigger after getting his yardage.

The trick to keeping a measured pace is simple.

'We'll walk slowly,' Davenport said. 'If I had to grab him to slow him down, I will.'

The duo will have to keep watch on their speed on Friday, as well. Harman will go off the 10th tee Friday morning as a single at 7:10 a.m. – five minutes ahead of the originally scheduled first tee time.