The Tour heads to Florida for The Players Championship week, but even 'The Sunshine State' has endured some torrential weather. In the week before the 2013 Players, TPC Sawgrass received as much rainfall (over 10 inches) as Edinburgh averages in the first 6 months of the year!*
Whilst the forecast and course conditions appear to be in good shape for the tournament week, recent bad weather brings back memories of one of the wildest weeks on the PGA Tour, the 1979 Players Championship.
From 1977 to 1981, The Players took place at Sawgrass Country Club, directly across the street from the Championship's current home at TPC Sawgrass. Located on the north Florida coast, Sawgrass CC was hard, fast and partial to high winds.
Lanny Watkins won the event in 1979 with a score of five-under par. However, the event would be remembered for the Saturday and Sunday weather and the now infamous 'Barber Chair'.
High winds caused havoc with the best players in the world over the weekend. Only three scores of par or better were carded compared to 39 scores in the 80s. The scoring average for Saturday and Sunday were 77.5 and 78.6 respectively!
Bob Murphy, a 5-time winner on Tour and former US Amateur champion, shot a final round 92. Yes, that is twenty over par.
Inside the Sawgrass' clubhouse sat a barber's chair used by members who would get their haircut at the club. Ben Crenshaw and gang of Tour players began using it as therapy chair for players to sit in and share their horror stories from the day.
8-time PGA Tour winner, Jim Colbert, explained how the confessional-like chair would work, “The rule was it had to be a score in double digits. I believe by the time we got down, someone had a double-digit score on every hole.”
When the event was moved to it's current home at TPC Sawgrass in 1982, the then-comissioner of the PGA Tour, Deane Beman, made sure the chair was moved too. For years it sat in the back of the TPC clubhouse for years, before the clubhouse at Sawgrass underwent a $32m makeover in 2006.
The new 77,000 square foot, Mediterranean-Style clubhouse at Sawgrass (photo above) features countless pieces of golf memorabilia, and one special spot for the famed barber chair - greeting players just inside the entrance to the PGA players locker room.