Players: TPC Sawgrass’ rough is friendlier, with one caveat

Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Players: TPC Sawgrass’ rough is friendlier, with one caveat

PGA Tour

Players: TPC Sawgrass’ rough is friendlier, with one caveat

By

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida – Phil Mickelson was right about TPC Sawgrass’ rough. Sort of.

When the 48-year-old loather of deep hay off of fairways declared his renewed passion for the Players just days after missing the Arnold Palmer Invitational cut, he tweeted out his excitement.

“Very little rough, much like Augusta,” Mickelson wrote.

While he is correct that TPC Sawgrass’ rough is not as tall as Bay Hill’s, the density factor will prove fascinating in the Players’ first return to a March playing since 2006.

The plan to mow the areas off fairways at 2.5 inches is about the same height as recent May playings of the Players. However, the ryegrass overseed changes how the ball sits.

The Bermuda rough at 2.5 inches nearly always saw balls sink to the base of the wiry blades, leaving a practical pitch-out lie most of the time. With the Bermuda neutralized by the dense ryegrass overseed last fall, balls now sit many different ways.

Some balls will rest high up on top of thicker swaths of rye – watch out flyer lies – while some will sit down just enough to render grooves useless. Occasionally, the ball will be very hard to propel forward. Either way, players will be taking on significant risk playing balls without ideal spin onto firm greens that were making a loud thump as balls landed on them during Monday’s practice round.

While the first reaction will be to assume a much easier test and one forgiving for long hitters, longtime critics of the hack-out hay should rejoice in seeing players taking more chances at Pete Dye’s small, trouble-laden greens. The combination of flyers, bad hacks and miracle recovery shots should add excitement while better highlighting Dye’s architecture.

No wonder Mickelson is so happy. But be careful what you wish for, Phil.

Latest

More Golfweek
Home