Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Break in the Weather Sunshine Helps Crew Get Stadium Course Ready

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Break in the Weather Sunshine Helps Crew Get Stadium Course Ready

Article excerpt

Byline: Bryan Mullen, Times-Union sports writer

PONTE VEDRA BEACH -- And on the fourth day, there were lawn mowers.

Following days of torrential downpours and minor flooding in Ponte Vedra Beach, TPC Stadium Course Superintendent Fred Klauk finally saw the light, a 12-hour break of sunshine on Tuesday allowing him and his crew to get back to making The Players Championship one of the toughest tournaments in professional golf.

"We haven't been able to cut the fairways since Saturday," said Klauk, who has been overseeing the famed Stadium Course for weeks in preparation for this event. "We're cutting them twice today [Wednesday]. That extra 12 hours of no rain was a phenomenal advantage for us to recover."

The break in the weather has allowed course maintenance workers to resume their regular 5 a.m.- 8 p.m. work schedules, not only mowing fairways, but also prepping soaked bunkers for optimum playability and tending to the small and quick greens.

This week's rain has softened the putting surfaces, a rare advantage for golfers during the week of the The Players. In wet conditions, players can be more aggressive with their iron play and shoot for pins without the fear of their balls sliding off the normally slick Stadium Course greens. But longer irons will be needed to hit the greens considering the fairways are also wet and will not allow much roll. Since the chance for more rain is slim, the easier conditions should dissipate when the final two rounds are played this weekend, Klauk said.

"We're going to have green speed, but they're going to be soft on Thursday and Friday," Klauk said. "But the firmness we're looking for should be back on Saturday and Sunday. The fairways are going to play soft all week. But the equalizer looks like it's going to be the windy conditions."

The players, however, refuse to be lulled into thinking this week will be easy going. …

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