Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Island Green Waiting for Caddie Contest Winner

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Island Green Waiting for Caddie Contest Winner

Article excerpt

Byline: Garry Smits, The Times-Union

Fans are accustomed to seeing professionals in The Players Championship let their caddies have a shot at the par-3 17th hole and its Island Green. Over the years, the tradition has been for players to put money into a pool, with the caddie coming closest to the pin taking the pot.

This year, the caddies' one swing at the Island Green will have special meaning.

The caddie who wins the contest will get $1,000 and an Omega watch. Plus, the PGA Tour will match the total amount the players contribute, up to $5,000, to Driving 4 Life, the charity that was launched last year by veteran caddie Bruce Edwards of Ponte Vedra Beach and Tom Watson.

The charity will fund research for ALS, or "Lou Gehrig's Disease." Edwards was diagnosed with ALS 14 months ago.

The idea for the charitable twist on the caddie competition was by John Wood, the caddie for Kevin Sutherland. Andy Pazder of the Tour's competition staff is coordinating the event.

"The entire credit for this goes to John Wood," Pazder said. "We're just helping out a little."

FIRST DAY GOES SMOOTHLY

Despite chilly weather Monday, the first day of Players Championship week came and went with few glitches. That was partly because the weather was so good last week that many logistical details were taken care of in advance.

"We were able to rope off the entire course last week," general chairman Kevin Robbins said. "We were able to get a lot of things done that sometimes spill over into the early part of tournament week."

Robbins also said the favorable weather forecast for the week means the tournament was able to release about 40 buses they had reserved for possible use in case wet grounds in the public lot forced fans to use satellite lots.

"If you don't have to use the satellite lots and the buses, you can save about $200,000," Robbins said. "Any expenses we can save means more we can give to charity."

Executive director Brian Goin said the attendance was normal for a Monday of Players week, but fans seemed to stay at the course less time because of the weather.

"The public parking lot was about 20 percent full, which is normal," Goin said. …

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