Punishing conditions at The Players Championship with golfers ‘hardly able to stand up’ on the 17th on Saturday; Brandel Chamblee says extreme winds “exposed major flaw” in Sawgrass’ iconic par three with host of top names, including Collin Morikawa, finding the water
Last Updated: 13/03/22 6:29pm
The Players Championship, the richest event in golf, has been blighted by extreme winds with Kevin Kisner describing Saturday’s conditions as “brutal”.
The iconic par-three 17th at Sawgrass proved particularly treacherous, with the hole playing almost a stroke tougher than earlier in the tournament.
There were 29 balls in the water at 17 on Saturday, compared to four across the first two days. There were 20 double-bogeys or worse – compared to three across the first two days.
Kisner added: “I understand the difference in the waves, but when I got to 17 and 18 you couldn’t hardly stand up, much less hit a golf shot.”
The taxing nature of the 17th – Collin Morikawa, Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele and Brooks Koepka among those to find the water – led to a heated debate between Brandel Chamblee and Paul McGinley on the Golf Channel.
Chamblee argued that the high winds “exposed a major flaw” in the hole – but McGinley was riveted by the jeopardy and the entertainment.
“You were guessing on that tee.
“Some players ended up in the water through no fault of their own. You can choose right, hit right and make an eight.
“I would argue that for the premier event of the PGA Tour – I call it a major championship – it is far too capricious an element to have. Great water holes are meant to tempt not torture.
“You could make chipping areas if you extended the front and back of the green some 10 yards [as] on a day like this the hole is too penal and tilts it towards a [a game of] chance rather than chess.
“I don’t just watch sport to be entertained. I watch it to be amazed at the athleticism and talent and I couldn’t tell who was talented and who wasn’t.”
“This is not a particularly intimidating hole. You have a huge green here, some 4,000 square feet, and it’s only 135 yards.
“Over the last five years, 80 per cent of players have hit the green. The wind exposed it but that is part of the game and what makes it great.
“Luck is a huge element in professional golf and this was a freak day. We have to accept a freak day.
“All you can do is be in a state of mind to execute the shot and accept the consequences. If it happens to go in the water, it goes in the water.
“It was gripping TV and you wanted to see what happened with the players. So much skill was required out there.”
It’s pure luck and somewhat a loss of integrity of the tournament in my opinion, but it is what it is.
Kevin Kisner on Players Championship conditions
‘Throw the policies out of the window a little bit’
American Sam Ryder had no issues with the course but wished PGA Tour officials had been more lenient with time constraints.
He said: “I think the course set-up and everything is plenty fair; it’s just hard.
“You’ve got to throw some of those policies with time out the window a little bit when you’re on a tee like 17.
“Imagine getting timed and trying to hit quickly and you’re in contention to win a golf tournament with a $20m purse, and you’re just trying to get it done within a certain time spot.”
Watch continued coverage of The Players Championship live on Sky Sports The Players.
Source : Sky Sports