PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida (AP) — The competition got under way at The Players Championship before the golf did.
A group of European caddies and a few players have organized a football team called "Airmail Rovers AC" — no one can explain where that name came from — and they played a local pub team in Jacksonville on Monday.
According to Golfweek magazine, the match ended in a 3-3 draw with a late goal. Among the top players for the golf team was Sergio Garcia, as was to be expected. And according to Alvaro Quiros, his fellow Spaniard, Garcia loves to control the action.
"Next time we play we need two balls," Quiros said on Tuesday in recounting the action. "One for Sergio, one for the rest of the team. We kept saying, 'Pass it Sergio.' I think I can see now why he plays golf."
A week ago at the Wells Fargo Championship, Martin Kaymer and Rory McIlroy played against a Charlotte football team.
HAIR-RAISING DEVELOPMENT: Geoff Ogilvy was in a chemist last month when he saw a product designed to grow hair. Ogilvy has been losing so much from the top that he had about given up.
As a joke, he bought a can of organic hair growth.
When he arrived at The Players Championship, his hair had grown enough for people to notice. It looked the way it did when he won the U.S. Open at Winged Foot five years ago.
"I wasn't buying it to grow hair, I was buying it for a giggle," Ogilvy said. "It's organic. It can't hurt me. At least, I don't think it can hurt me."
MAY OR MARCH: This is the fifth year The Players Championship has been played in early May. Previously it was at the end of March just before the Masters when there was bent grass on the greens, and the rye overseed from the winter had not died.
It was a different golf course.
Some players are split on whether they'd like it better if it were still played in March.
"In my personal opinion, I don't think they've got the setup quite right yet for the May date," said Adam Scott, who won The Players in 2004 when it was in March. "With the different grass, I'd like to see them set it up a little differently. I'd like to see the rough cut down a lot more with the different grass here, get the ball running through. And we could do away with the thick rough."
Luke Donald thought the course was harder in March. He said while the course can be firmer in May, the greens aren't quite as fast.
"I kind of preferred it in March," he said.
Ultimately, Scott said it really doesn't matter.
"I think this is one of the best tournament courses in the world," Scott said.
HOGAN PREDICTION: Upon his induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame on Monday, former Masters and U.S. PGA champion Doug Ford shared some golf history that might apply today.
When he turned pro, Ford said Ben Hogan was chairman of the players' board and didn't like that the top 15 players in a 150-man field were getting paid. Hogan suggested that only the top 10 get paid.
"I'm a rookie, 1950, and I'm saying, 'Boy, that's one tough cookie,'" Ford said. "But they voted against him, and they made 15 money places. And Hogan said, 'What you're going to do is create a bunch of players that will stay out here and be exempt and never win.'"
That was more than 60 years ago.
The U.S. PGA Tour went to an all-exempt tour in 1983, and it's probably become worse than what Hogan imagined. Three players have earned more than $10 million without ever having won on the tour.
"The more I look at the list now, he was as true as could be," Ford said. "These guys can stay out there forever and never win, as long as they made the money cut."
DIVOTS: It has been five years since the 54-hole leader at The Players Championship went on to win. ... The flag of the defending champion — South Africa for Tim Clark — usually flies in the circle of champions. Out of respect to Seve Ballesteros, Clark asked that the Spanish flag take its place. ... Among the items Ernie Els put in his glass locker at the World Golf Hall of Fame was a notebook in which his wife, Leizl, used to chart the shot of Els and his playing partners at every major.
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