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May 11 2011

9:55 PM

TPC Sawgrass changes in 30 years

Click here to discover 30 things you didn’t know about THE PLAYERS

By Ward Clayton, PGATOUR.COM

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Mark O’Meara is the only player in the field this week who played in the first PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass 30 years ago.

“You couldn’t see any other hole from the hole you were playing,” O’Meara said. “Trying to explain that to young kids today – when you stood on the first tee if you hit it left, you might have a yard or two off the left side of the cart path and then it was Palmetto palms and shrubs, and the golf course was wild. They've cleaned it out.

“And in a roundabout way when you clean out a golf course, it’s not that this golf course is easy because it’s still a very challenging golf course. But it’s certainly not as intimidating as it was when you stood on the 18th tee back in the olden days and if you flamed it up over the right you were up in the Sawgrass bushes on the hillside. There was no grass where all the spectators are.”

Jerry Pate noted that in 1982 when he birdied the par-3 17th hole four of the five days (there was a pro-am back then) he hit a “cut 8-iron” and players today hit wedges.

Here is a yardage comparison between 1982 and this year:

Hole 1982 yardage 2011 yardage Hole 1982 yardage 2011 yardage
1 388 423 10 395 424
2 511 532 11 529 558
3 162 177 12 336 358
4 360 384 13 172 181
5 454 472 14 438 481
6 381 393 15 426 449
7 439 442 16 497 523
8 215 237 17 132 137
9 582 583 18 440 462
Total       6,857 7,215
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