Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

The Players Went Smoothly despite Weather; Old Tricks Helped Logistics

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

The Players Went Smoothly despite Weather; Old Tricks Helped Logistics

Article excerpt

Byline: Drew Dixon, Shorelines staff writer

PONTE VEDRA BEACH -- Although The Players Championship was wet, often delayed and extended an extra day this year, it was surprisingly manageable, organizers said this week.

While the event had to be extended into Monday due to heavy rains last weekend, the staff pulled together to make it work despite seemingly insurmountable challenges, tournament Executive Director Brian Goin said.

The normal Players Championship parking lot off Palm Valley Road had to be closed due to soggy conditions. Shuttle buses were deployed to ferry fans from nearby college campuses and other facilities in Jacksonville.

That meant shifting plans to deal with a ban on cell phones at the Sawgrass golf course. Original plans called for gatekeepers to turn fans back to their cars with their cell phones if they tried to bring them in.

"The challenges we had really with the cell phones were with the shuttles," Goin said Tuesday. "People got on buses and showed up with their phones and what do we do? I can't make them get on the bus and make them go back.

"Our volunteers again adapted and we checked those phones at the gate and we were successful with it," Goin said.

Tournament organizers had used that system several years ago. But in recent years they hoped fans would simply return to their cars if they forgot that they were carrying cell phones. The old system worked as a contingency, Goin said.

So did the old contingency of the shuttle buses, which ran from parking lots at University of North Florida and Florida Community College at Jacksonville campuses March 26 and 27. When students returned to campus Monday, the shuttle service shifted to the Morocco Shrine Center on St. Johns Bluff Road.

"We lined up UNF last June or July," Goin said, adding the price of running 60 to 100 shuttle buses at any given time during the tournament was a significant additional cost. …

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