By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Billy Horschel estimates that he has played about 80 rounds on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass since moving here four years ago. Not that he has any home-field advantage this week.
“The problem is that the course is completely different than when we play it,” said Horschel, who is making his first PLAYERS Championship appearance this week. “The greens aren’t tournament speeds. The rough isn’t tournament rough. It’s all a little bit different.”
A lot different, actually.
Jim Furyk and Vijay Singh have been longtime residents of the area but neither has ever won at TPC Sawgrass, and they’ve combined for just seven top 10s between them.
Fred Funk, who used to live next to the first tee on the Valley Course here, and Mark McCumber are the only residents to have won THE PLAYERS (though Jacksonville native David Duval also did).
But looking closer, there are things Horschel will rely upon this week.
“I think the advantage I get out of it is I know where you can miss on the golf course,” Horschel said. “The lines don't look as intimidating because I know there is more room.
“It's not much of an advantage. I guess it just makes it a little bit more comforting seeing that I've played it.”
No first-time participant has ever won here, either.
Horschel, however, is on a hot streak. He’s finished in the top 10 in each of last four starts, which included his first win as well as second- and third-place finishes.