MAY 9, 2017

TPC Sawgrass, home of The Players Championship, has had more cosmetic surgery than Michael Jackson ever endured. When told of the latest changes to the course, Tom Kite cracked, "It would have been news if they hadn't changed anything this year."

The Stadium Course closed last May after Jason Day's impressive Players victory for its latest nip and tuck, which included re-grassed greens, a lake added between the sixth and seventh holes and a revamped No. 12 into a drivable par 4.


When the USGA and R&A stated May 1 that golf’s governing bodies would be investigating green-reading guides, the announcement came as a surprise.

I didn’t think the guides were a problem.  

Then again, I didn’t have much of an issue with anchored putting, and that stroke was banned.


Dustin Johnson narrowly missed a fourth consecutive victory in last week’s Wells Fargo Championship, but Las Vegas oddsmakers expect him to return to his winning ways this week.

Johnson has been installed as a 7-1 favorite to win The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., according to Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

Johnson, who is No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking, won his first three starts of the year before a freak accident April 5derailed him at the Masters. On the eve of the tournament, Johnson slipped on stairs at his rental house in Augusta, Ga., and injured his back. He withdrew from the Masters the next morning.

On, Wisconsin!

I imagine that Herb Kohler would disagree with you about no one thinking of Wisconsin as a golf mecca (“Sand Valley debuts with Bandon Dunes-like awe,” May 8, http://bit.ly/2poCjlz).

At his resort, he has four courses, including two Pete Dye courses that have held major championships. Oh, yeah: one will hold the Ryder Cup in three years.   

Stan Smith
Roswell, GA

In the news

Announced: By the Golf Coaches Association of America and the Women’s Golf Coaches Association, that the inaugural Mark Laesch Awards will be handed out after the NCAA Division I men’s and women’s tournaments later this month. The awards will be presented to the men’s and women’s teams that show the greatest improvement in adjusted stroke average from the previous season. Men’s and women’s NCAA divisions I, II and III will be honored, plus the men’s NAIA and NJCAA. Laesch, who died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, on March 4 at age 62, founded the college golf statistics website Golfstat.com.

Keeping score


Number of players in the 35-year history of The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., who birdied the iconic 137-yard, island-green par-3 17th hole during all four rounds. In 1987, Paul Azinger made four deuces en route to a sixth-place finish. However, Rickie Fowler birdied the 17th three times in one day: during regulation play in the final round and again during two replays of the hole during the playoff of his 2015 triumph.


Srixon’s Z 565 driver has been named “Most Wanted Driver of 2017” by MyGolfSpy, Srixon announced. The media outlet based its recognition on research of player data for all drivers submitted for testing, determining that the Srixon Z 565 delivered the best overall performance of any model in the study.

Thor Guard, which manufactures advance-warning weather indicators, has installed its lightning prediction and warning system at the seven properties in The Cliffs community along the North and South Carolina border. Thor Guard claims that its warning system predicts lightning eight to 20 minutes before it can strike.

Bridgestone Golf has been designated as the official provider of golf balls to the IMG Academy, the company announced. Bridgestone will provide golf balls, clubs and accessories for use by IMG students and camp attendees.

Tiburon Golf Club at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, Fla., has closed its Black Course for renovations. The project is being led by the Greg Norman Golf Course Design and Jeff Cathey, Tiburon Golf Club’s director of agronomy. The course is expected to reopen in November.

Sweetgrass Golf Club in Harris, Mich., has been recognized by Golfweek magazine as being among the “Best Courses You Can Play” in the state. Course architect Paul Albanese, who designed Sweetgrass, is finishing work on a second course at the Island Resort and Casino site that is expected to open late this summer.

Most weeks, your golf course superintendent toils in the background. The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America hopes to change that dynamic with a simple gesture during “Thank a Golf Course Superintendent Week” on May 8-14.

Pikewood National Golf Club has landed on Golfweek’s Best Modern List, at No. 32, the Morgantown, W.Va., club announced. Pikewood National, a Bob Gwynne-John Raese design, opened in 2009.

May 8-10
College women: NCAA Division I regionals at four sites
Albuquerque, N.M.; Athens, Ga.; Columbus, Ohio; Lubbock, Texas
May 9-10
NGF Golf Business Symposium
Renaissance Resort at World Golf Village, St. Augustine, Fla.
May 11-14
PGA Tour: The Players Championship
TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
European Tour: Portugal Open
Morgado G&CC, Portimao, Portugal
Symetra Tour: Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Classic
Links at Stoney Point, Greenwood, S.C.
May 15-17
College men: NCAA Division I regionals at six sites
Baton Rouge, La.; College Grove, Tenn.; West Lafayette, Ind.; Stanford, Calif.; Austin, Texas; Sammamish, Wash.
May 18-21
LPGA: Kingsmill Championship
Kingsmill Resort (River Course), Williamsburg, Va.
Web.com Tour: BMW Charity Pro-Am
Thornblade Club, Greer, S.C.
Champions Tour: Regions Tradition
Greystone G&CC, Birmingham, Ala.
PGA Tour: AT&T Byron Nelson
TPC Four Seasons Resort, Irving, Texas
European Tour: The Rocco Forte Open
Verdura GC, Agrigento, Italy
May 19-24
College women: NCAA Division I championship
Rich Harvest Farms, Sugar Grove, Ill.
May 21-25
Industry: ING Spring Conference
World Golf Village and Hall of Fame Museum, St. Augustine, Fla.
May 25-28
Champions Tour: KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship
Trump National GC, Potomac Falls, Va.
LPGA: LPGA Volvik Championship
Travis Point CC, Ann Arbor, Mich.
PGA Tour: Dean & DeLuca Invitational
Colonial CC, Fort Worth, Texas
European Tour: BMW PGA Championship
Wentworth Club, Virginia Water, England
May 25-31
College men: NCAA Division I championship
Rich Harvest Farms, Sugar Grove, Ill.
May 26-29
Junior: AJGA Thunderbird International Junior
Grayhawk GC (Raptor), Scottsdale, Ariz.

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