tampabay.com

TPC just can't escape the rain

By BOB HARIG
Published May 10, 2007


PONTE VEDRA BEACH - One of the reasons for moving the Players Championship to May was to avoid the soggy conditions that have often plagued the PGA event. So what was it doing Wednesday? Raining, with Subtropical Storm Andrea off the Georgia coast.

"It's kind of odd," Ernie Els said. "Last couple of days it's almost like March again, a lot of wind, north winds, and not very warm."

"It's unfortunate," said Fred Funk, who lives here and won two years ago. "The irony is we're expecting hot weather and now we have March weather, just a little more muggy. But it will be a good test for the golf course with all the work they did to see if it really works."

AROUND SAWGRASS: Commissioner Tim Finchem announced a purse increase of $1-million to $9-million, with $1.62-million to the winner. ... The field includes all 47 players who have won on the tour since the start of 2006.

OPEN QUALIFYING: Greg Kraft of Belleair and Lee Williamson of Crawfordsville, Ind., shared medalist honors with 69 on the Island Course at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor to lead six players, including Zachery Sobel of Clearwater Beach (70), who advanced to section qualifying June 4 for the U.S. Open that is June 14-17.

TPC WEATHER:

LIVE AT THE PLAYERS: Fans again can watch, via the Internet, action at the 17th hole. Unlike last year, however, every PGA player can be viewed. Live streaming video of the TPC Sawgrass hole will be broadcast from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and Friday and 1-7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at www.pgatour.com. Last year, the Web site reported 540,000 live streams of action at the hole.

ROCKIN' THE FIRST TEE: The First Tee of Clearwater has scheduled a fundraiser, Rockin' the First Tee, May 18-19. The Casino Night & Jam Session is 6:30 p.m. May 18 at Harborview in Clearwater. Cost is $45. A celebrity golf tournament is May 19 at the Chi Chi Rodriguez Golf Course. A three-person scramble begins at 10 a.m. and the price, $200, includes breakfast and lunch. Go to www.thefirstteeclearwater.org for more information.

HOKIE OPEN: The Virginia Tech Alumni Association, Tampa Bay Chapter, has scheduled its annual Hokie Open Golf Tournament on June 1 at Fox Hollow in New Port Richey. The tournament benefits the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund and will assist families of the victims of the April 16 shootings on the Blacksburg campus. There will be a 1 p.m. start and the cost is $100 per person. Sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information, call Kevin McWilliams at (727) 207-3806.