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Moving The Players Championship from May back to March already means TPC Sawgrass plays quite soft when the world's best pull up to the famous Stadium Course. And when you add in the deluge of rain and thunderstorms forecast for the four days this year, the result is a completely different test of golf than we're used to seeing.
But just how is the bad weather affecting the 2022 Players Championship? We run through some of the things to consider...
What is the weather forecast?
First thing's first, what is predicted for the tournament? On Thursday, play was suspended on several occasions on account of the heavy thunderstorms rolling through the area. That meant more than half the field didn't have time to complete their opening round.
Sadly, more of the same has arrived on Friday, while Saturday is expected to be the worst of the four days, with wind and cold temperatures sweeping the Jacksonville area. It's to get colder still on Sunday but at least the storms should have cleared, meaning we may see a full day of uninterrupted golf.
A wet course is a long course, and that means short hitters are going to find it even more difficult to compete. Not only that, but the drop in temperature is only going to exacerbate this further. The Stadium Course is treacherous enough, but add in the elements, and this year's winner is going to have earned his 'Players Champion' title.
It goes without saying but expect to see little to no roll on the fairways and greens this week, meaning Pete Dye's brutal creation will play all of its 7,245 yards and then some. Not only that, but in wet conditions, the rough becomes even denser and harder to escape from, meaning there is also a huge premium on accuracy, all the while trying to stay dry.
There will be some respite for the best players in the world, though, as the soft greens will allow them to display their full array of shot-making skills. The only thing to guard against is getting too much spin, something we've already seen a few players fall foul of at the par-3 17th.
Pick and place
Sticking with the theme of course conditions, with more rain, comes more chance for mud balls and for balls to become embedded, and we've already seen plenty of examples of both. A ball with mud on it won't fly predictably, while it would be barbaric to expect players to deal with plugged lies on top of everything else.
So, with that in mind, preferred lies are in place this week, meaning players can pick and place on the fairway and take relief from embedded balls through the green.
Start times - Is a Monday finish on the cards?
With numerous delays in play, start times have already been affected, with a host of players still waiting to finish their opening round. It's the sort of scenario usually reserved for Open Championships, where players caught on the 'wrong side' of the draw are forced to constantly wait around and deal with the worst of the weather.
It's no coincidence that the majority of those near the top of the leaderboard were able to complete their first round on Thursday. We saw how much it meant to Ian Poulter and his group to get finished before darkness fell, with the Englishman running the final two holes to guarantee a full night's sleep.
It remains to be seen how it will impact things at the business end of the tournament, but don't be surprised if the eventual winner had an early first-round tee time.
The ongoing delays also mean that we may not see a Players Champion crowned on Sunday, with Golf Digest Australia's Evin Priest tweeting that "we are (all but) assured of a Monday finish" unless players get back out on the course soon. This can have a knock-on effect on player schedules, TV schedules, as well as upcoming events.
PGA Tour rules official Gary Young on 2.5 inches rain TPC Sawgrasss received in past 24 hours/chances of Monday finish. "We have crunched numbers + we're coming close. If we don't get back out on the golf course this afternoon then we are (all but) assured of a Monday finish."March 11, 2022
Extreme weather has a significant bearing on pin placements, and it's no different here. Due to the rain, the PGA Tour has had no option but to revise the hole locations for Friday's second round. This will be to minimise the amount of standing water that's likely to gather in depressed areas.
Check out the tweet below for a full rundown of the revisions:
Revised hole locations for the second round of THE PLAYERS Championship https://t.co/kw6PJ9uhXx pic.twitter.com/6IEWnjbTUPMarch 11, 2022
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A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform producing football reports, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1. However, he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing and now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.
Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.
As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.
What's in Andy's bag?
Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)
3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus (15°)
Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)
Irons: Callaway Apex Pro '19 (4-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)
Putter: TaylorMade Spider X
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
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