Off and on weather delays and play suspensions clouded the field of professional golfers in this year’s Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass. Play was halted several times over the four rounds in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., as heavy rainfall peppered the course.
The first round, scheduled for Thursday, March 10, concluded on Friday, March 11. On that same Friday, players were required to start their second round right after finishing their first round.
Darkness shadowed the latter holes of some golfers’ second rounds, and they had to be finished up Saturday morning. This shift warranted a Monday final round, rather than a traditional Sunday.
Despite the unconventional finish and variant conditions, some unexpected players in the field, especially champion Cameron Smith, showed exceptional ability to overcome adversity on the golf course.
Cameron Smith showed the way during his final round and birdied his first four holes. He went on to one-putt 13 of the 18 holes in that same round. Of these one-putts, eight of them came in his last nine holes. Smith was on fire.
Not only did the Australian hit these putts, he was consistent in where he made them: the dead center of the cup. Smith read and understood the speed and slope of the difficult TPC Sawgrass greens, leading him to victory on Monday.
Anirban Lahiri, Joel Dahmen, Francesco Molinari and Viktor Hovland were some of the notable competitors that made their mark over the weekend. Big names such as Brooks Koepka, Collin Morikawa, Jordan Speith and Tony Finau all missed the cut.
Another highlight, as with every tournament at TPC Sawgrass, is Number 17. This course is home to the famous par-3 the “Island Green.”
Over the length of the tournament, more than 65 balls were hit into the water off the edge of this difficult green. (Brooks Koepka has hit 10 balls into the 17th green’s water and has played this hole at 20-over-par during his career.) Players including Koepka watched ball after ball fall into the water after being set off track by heavy gusts of wind. Just bad luck.
Given the unpredictable conditions, brutal winds and longer-than-normal week at the 2022 Players Championship, golfers are glad to have a rest. Cameron Smith announced that he would not be playing in the Dell Technologies Match Play event in Austin, Texas to take a bit of a break and have some extended time with family.
Sources: Golf Channel, Golf Digest