Day returns to TPC Sawgrass to survey major changes

World No. 2 Jason Day hosted a media outing this week at TPC Sawgrass where in two months he will defend his Players Championship title.

Day became only the fifth player in the tournament’s history, and the first since Hal Sutton in 2000, to win the prestigious event wire-to-wire on the Pete Dye designed Stadium Course.

Jason Day Jason Day proudly holds the Players Championship trophy (Credit: Anthony Powter)

Day also added to the Australian-born champions list following Adam Scott (2004), Steve Elkington (1991 & 1997) and Greg Norman (1994).

And while a double ear infection had forced Day out of contesting last week’s WGC – Mexico Championship the Australian was delighted to have made his way from his Ohio home to Ponte Vedre, Florida.

“It was quite a special win last year because I typically don’t play too well around here,” he said.

I think my best finish prior to last year was a T6, and everything else has either been a missed cut or just making the cut and finishing on the weekend somewhere.”

“Last year I was coming off a tremendous run, especially at Bay Hill and the Match Play, playing some really great golf, and then coming into this week, I had a game plan of actually taking the driver out of my hand. Obviously I put the driver in my hand today and didn’t do too well.”

“But I hit a lot of 2-irons, and that club alone won me the tournament, just from the positioning that I got to be in off the fairways. Last year the fairways and greens were running very, very hard and fast.”

“It was really dry out here, so I could get away with hitting 2-irons, and they were running at least 300, 320 out there, and that’s just like a normal drive for us on any other week.”

“The memory of actually chipping in on the Saturday, that will go down, because obviously I was over on 15, hadn’t hit a bad tee shot on 15, hit the tree above me, then kind of chipped it down, went up the front of the game, came back down, and with how fast the greens were, how difficult the course was playing that day, to be able to chip it in and make par instead of a double bogey or worse really propelled me forward to go on and finish strong.”

Day and the media had gathered on the completely revamped 12th hole that has had the biggest makeover since nearly a year ago with a TPC Sawgrass-like water hazard added the entire length down the left side of the green.

Organisers have also raised the mound to the right of the green and built a back-to-back grandstand where spectators can view the 12th green or turn their backs and view action on the adjoining par three 13th green.

And naturally, Day was asked about changes to the 12th.

“It’s going to be interesting where they position the tee. I think — I’m not sure — obviously a lot of guys hit it straighter than me, but it’ll be interesting to see if a lot of guys go for it,” said Day.

“The biggest thing is that left-hand side; if balls are bounding down there, will they go in the water or not, that will determine a lot of guys, because it’s — yeah, I think you’ve got to go 20 to 25 yards between the mounds and the fairway where it kind of runs down, so you’ve got to be pretty accurate.”

“If you lay back far enough, you can shoot yourself straight up the green. If you lay back but you’re too far up here, then you’ve got that 45-degree over the mounds, and you can possibly go in the water.

“A lot of thinking, which is what they probably wanted, especially when you’re standing on the tee on a Sunday.”