Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

May Move Could Give Players Better Weather; Warmer Temperatures Than Players in March, but No Guarantees on Less Rain

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

May Move Could Give Players Better Weather; Warmer Temperatures Than Players in March, but No Guarantees on Less Rain

Article excerpt

Byline: GARRY SMITS

One of the primary reasons given for the possible move of The Players Championship from March to May is the weather.

Simply put, there's a perception that the weather is better in May than it is in March. According to raw numbers, the perception is accurate.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's 30-year trends show that May is warmer and significantly drier than March in North Florida. The amount of rainfall is even less in the first two weeks of May, since the summer weather pattern of late afternoon thunderstorms hasn't begun.

That would result in The Players becoming less subject to weather suspensions and postponements that have plagued the tournament in recent years.

This year, The Players was finished on a Monday for the third time in six years -- and for the fifth time since the tournament was moved to Ponte Vedra Beach. The 2005 Players Championship had rounds postponed or suspended for three days in a row, from Friday to Sunday.

The 2004 Players, which featured no weather delays, was an aberration. Prior to that, there were weather delays in seven tournaments during a 11-year span from 1993-2003.

But the experts make no guarantees.

"You can get rained out in any month," said Brian Kragh, who works for The Weather Channel and is one of three meteorologists on-site at every PGA Tour event. "Cold fronts stay further south in March and can get stationary, giving you storms and rain that can last all day in North Florida. But you can also get the seabreeze fronts in May that produce those pop-up thundershowers. The best you can say for that is that they're isolated and don't last as long."

"If you're asking me if the first half of May is generally drier than March, I would have to agree with you," said Steve Letto, a meteorologist with NOAA's Jacksonville office. "The rainfall differences are telling, but it's still hard to predict what would happen in a given year. . . . It's tough to take an entire month and make a blanket statement such as 'that month is drier than another month. …

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