My experience on the 17th at TPC SawgrassMay, 2013
Dan Murphy relives his mindset and experience playing the famous over-water 17th at TPC Sawgrass...
I was tight, there’s no getting away from it. And even once I’d managed to park the hire car I didn’t feel much better. You can’t stop thinking about the 17th, I doubt I went five seconds all day without it crossing my mind.
I spent the whole round peering through gaps in the trees to see if I could catch a glimpse and begin to get my head round what something looked like that I knew exactly what it looked like already.
If you catch my drift.
You know full well all anyone wants to know after you’ve been to Sawgrass is what happened on the 17th. So in some ways the whole round feels like a warm-up for one short iron.
Your first glimpse comes from halfway down the 16th fairway and it takes the breath away. It’s very cute, because you are nearer to the green then than you are on the 17th tee, which means it looks like a smaller target when the time comes.
Walking to the tee you feel like you are on The Cube or some kind of gameshow. The only thing that’s missing is the dramatic music. Walking to the tee you feel like you are on The Cube or some kind of gameshow. The only thing that’s missing is the dramatic music.
Complicating matters on our visit was a breezy headwind. You don’t need that. Standing over the ball I was actually more concerned with length than line, a fear that proved unjustified when I hit a 15-yard pull that was over dry land for precisely six yards (the first six) of its journey.
What made it worse was watching my colleague hitting a rank thin that was perfect in the conditions and found the back edge.
I wanted to reload from the same spot just to prove I could do it and mercifully found the putting surface. Walking round past the drop zone, I was glad I’d taken that option as the 80-yard pitch from there looked distinctly unappetising to my eye.
It’s actually quite a large green, with a pronounced slope from back to front, so I did well to two-putt. Five went down on the card, my day was ruined and I never did get to tell anyone about the highly creditable par I made at the tough 18th…