I first attended The Players back in 2006, which was the last year that the tournament was contested in March. It was a riveting event, and it catalyzed my love for attending PGA Tour events live. There is something about watching the approach to the game by those who make millions playing it that is both inspirational and instructive. I have always enjoyed studying how these players prepare, carry themselves, and interact with each other and the fans.
PGA Tour professionals are great with interaction. I've seen superstars like Fowler, Spieth, and Day spend hours signing autographs. Phil gives fist bumps. Bo Van Pelt once complimented my daughter, and Vaughn Taylor and I had a conversation. These athletes are approachable and genuine, and watching them has been a pleasure. It's why I not only attend The Players Championship, but I also attend the Winn Dixie Open and the RSM Classic up in Georgia.
So when the news broke last night that The Players had moved back to March, my wife was super stoked. Since 2007, the tournament has concluded on Mother's Day. That's a good thing for moms that love golf, but not such a great thing for moms that are indifferent, but who are married to husbands that love golf. Couple that with my son's birthday in early May, and the tournament has always been contested at a congested time in our personal schedule.
My wife was excited. Me...I'm fine either way, and I mean that sincerely. It's cooler in March, but I love wearing sweaters and the rain didn't bother me at the tournament that I attended. Will the weather chase away some fans?
Possibly. I think the social fans that come out after 5:00 p.m. to be seen around 17 on Friday evening might find other things to do. But the tournament will be more comfortable for walking fans like me (I once walked more than twenty miles in a day, watching it from the first group to the last) and I don't expect it to compete too directly with March Madness.
I love golf, and this is my favorite tournament of the year. What can I say? Sawgrass puts on a great show and puts up a great test. That isn't going anywhere, and everything will be fine in March.
In the final analysis, this will be a good move that makes the PGA Tour better overall. It cements a huge tournament in every month from March through August, and it makes the FedEx Cup a better set of events because it won't have to compete with the NFL.
I hear so much negative feedback about the move, but that feels like a lot of hype to me. The tournament might lose some of the sun dresses, but that was never what it was about anyway. The Bogey Grille isn't going anywhere, so play golf, fellas!