TPC Sawgrass finally in perfect condition
It has been closed since April 21 as Certified Golf Course Superintendent Tom Vlach and his crew readied the course for this week's Players Championship. This comes after one of the coldest winters on record in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Thanks to the difficult winter, the course wasn't exactly in tip-top shape this spring. In years past, a cold winter wasn't a problem since the course used to be overseeded. But since the tournament was moved from March to May in 2007, it hasn't been overseeded in the winter so the Bermudagrass can grow in without competition from winter rye.
In his golf course maintenance blog, Vlach wrote: 'We had a devastating winter. We were completely dormant on the golf course and (mini-Verde) greens for 15 weeks. In the past two years we were dormant maybe two weeks and never lost color in the fairways. We covered the greens 36 times this winter, and we only covered greens an average of two nights a winter in the past. Needless to say, we had very little recovery potential from play. We played more than 200 rounds of golf a day leading up to the close-down period. The greens were worn out, especially in entry and exit points for the greens.'
That made for less than desirable conditions in March and early April, but the course is perfect this week and should remain in top condition through the fall, which means after the tournament and into the summer are ideal times to play the Stadium Course.
By the way, the only changes to the Pete Dye-designed golf course this year include a large spectator mound behind No. 2, open air-conditioned seating behind the 18th green, and a new 17,000-square-foot tent with outdoor seating located between No. 9 and No. 18 called The Turn.
Watch: Reed races in 40-footer to put away Spieth
Three up with three holes to play at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Patrick Reed missed an opportunity to close out his match with Jordan Spieth when Spieth won the 16th hole with a birdie.
But Reed wouldn't let the match move to 18. Putting for birdie from the apron, 40 feet from the hole, at the par-3 17th, Reed raced in this putt to end the match.
With the win, Reed moved to 3-0-0 for the week and advanced to the weekend at Austin Country Club.
Garcia's win-win situation: Move on or baby time
AUSTIN, Texas – Given his status as one of Europe’s preeminent Ryder Cup players, Sergio Garcia’s record at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play is nothing short of inexplicable.
In 15 starts at the event, the Spaniard has played the weekend just once – in 2010 when he lost in the semifinals to Ian Poulter – and since the event pivoted to round-robin play he’s never made it out of the group stages.
His fortunes have changed dramatically this year, with Garcia going undefeated in pool play and cruising to the Sweet 16 following a 3-and-1 victory over Xander Schauffele on Friday.
“I would love to have done a little better than I have,” said Garcia, who will play Kyle Stanley in the Round of 16 early Saturday. “I have had some good weeks here. But not probably as good as I should have. So hopefully this week it will be better.”
Garcia made no secret of the source of his turnaround following the birth of his first child last Wednesday, a girl named Azalea. Even on Friday when he found himself 2 down through 11 holes and in danger of not advancing he kept an upbeat attitude.
“The way I looked at it, when I was 2 down, we're going to try to turn it around, but if we don't, it means that I get to spend more time with [his wife] Angela and Azalea for the weekend,” Garcia said. “I tried to look at it in a good way.”
DeLaet: WGC's robin-robin format 'sucks'
Graham DeLaet isn't teeing it up at Austin Country Club this week because he didn't qualify for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, but that doesn't mean he lacks an opinion on the event's format.
DeLaet hopped on social media Friday during Day 3 of the WGC-Match Play to torch the round-robin format that's been in place for three years, saying he much preferred the single elimination that was in place when he played in 2014.
"Played Match Play in Tucson in 2014. Early group on Wednesday, lost. Threw clubs in my car and was on my couch in Scottsdale by 2:00 pm. Collect 30K and spend the weekend at home, he tweeted. "That’s a good format. This one sucks."
Played Match Play in Tucson in 2014. Early group on Wednesday, lost. Threw clubs in my car and was on my couch in Scottsdale by 2:00 pm. Collect 30K and spend the weekend at home. That’s a good format. This one sucks.— Graham DeLaet (@GrahamDeLaet) March 23, 2018
DeLeat's comments may be the strongest to date, but he's not alone in his opposition to pool play. Several players lamented Friday's "meaningless" matches earlier this week, and Henrik Stenson cited the lack of a do-or-die atmosphere as his reason for skipping the event.
Watch: Kuchar makes ace at WGC-Dell Match Play
In his bid to advance to the weekend at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Matt Kuchar aced the par-3 seventh hole Friday at Austin Country Club.
With an 8-iron from 181 yards, Kuchar landed his ball short of the flag and watched it roll and roll ... and drop.
Golly gee Matty, let's raise the roof.— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) March 23, 2018
Kuuuuuuuuuuuuuch with a hole-in-one! pic.twitter.com/EnolkLxlqw
The hole-in-one moved Kuchar 3 Up in match against Ross Fisher.
The last hole-in-one at the Match Play came in Sunday's consolation match last year, when Hideto Tanihara aced the same hole before later losing to Bill Haas.