GCSAA certified golf course superintendent Tom Vlach will be directing management of the course for his first Players, completing the transition he began at last year’s event. Vlach replaces the retired Fred Klauk, who will have more than a casual interest in this year’s competition. Klauk’s son Jeff will be competing in the championship, aided by a bit of local knowledge he gained helping his dad with maintenance duties.
Vlach has a history with Sawgrass as well. He was an assistant superintendent in the early 1990s, helping the elder Klauk prep the course for The Players. This year’s event is the third for the renovated course, meaning it's gaining some maturity and losing some of the excessive firmness it had. The biggest challenge for Vlach and his staff has been a cooler than normal winter that has not been kind to the heat-loving bermudagrass. Still, Vlach expects conditions to be great for the event.
TPC Sawgrass is fully-certified in the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary for Golf Courses. The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses was created to help others understand and address pertinent environmental issues and make meaningful contributions to improving environmental quality. Administered by Audubon International, the ACSP is designed to encourage homeowners, golf courses, schools and businesses to register their land and buildings as cooperative sanctuaries. Through this registration, Audubon International staff helps develop conservation management plans for the property, offers assistance to land managers in implementing those plans and recognizes the efforts of the individuals who become involved in the program.
Weather: The forecast calls for mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 80s all week.
Yardage: 7,215 yards. Par-72.
Signature hole: The island green No. 17 is not only the signature hole but is also one of the most recognizable holes in golf. At 132 yards its one of the shortest holes on Tour, but it's still easily one of the most intimidating, especially when the wind blows.