Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tour Staff Shifts into Players Mode This Week; with the Tournament a Month Away, Details Are Coming into Focus

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tour Staff Shifts into Players Mode This Week; with the Tournament a Month Away, Details Are Coming into Focus

Article excerpt

Byline: GARRY SMITS

With the final putt dropped in the Masters Tournament on Sunday evening, a 28-day countdown to The Players Championship began.

The PGA Tour's crown jewel event, at the refurbished TPC Sawgrass Players Stadium Course, overlooked by a majestic, $33 million clubhouse, will be May 10-13.

Four weeks from today, Players week begins with practice rounds as the world's best golfers descend on the First Coast to test their games and nerve at a new time of year, but for the same high stakes -- a purse that will be at least $8 million (the official total will be announced that week).

The PGA Tour's Championship Management staff and the Players Championship volunteer force of nearly 1,700 should have enjoyed their Easter Sunday off.

"Now it's time for us to get moving," said general chairman Tim Tresca. "It's a different feeling doing this in April and May rather than February and March, but we're ready."

The Players had been contended in March since 1977, but was moved to May as part of the Tour's new schedule.

The hopes are that May will result in better weather (there were three Monday finishes in the Players since 2000 because of weather delays) and more media and fan interest because the tournament won't bump against the NCAA Tournament, Major League Baseball spring training and the buildup for the Masters, the season's first major championship.

"We really think the next four weeks are going to result in a lot of momentum for this tournament," said Players executive director Brian Goin. "There's no baseball or basketball that conflicts with the tournament. The Masters is done. The U.S. Open is more than two months away. Not only are we going to be the highlight to the golf schedule in May, but we're hoping we'll be one of the sports highlights in the world that week."

Goin said he and his paid staff will begin a month-long diet of seven-day weeks, while Tresca said he and his vice chairmen will operate under a similar schedule. …

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